The Gap, Inc. is an American clothing retailer based in San Francsico. Gap is just one of the corporation's brand, which also includes Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and Piper Lime.
Gap was founded in 1969 by Donald and Doris Fisher. Capitalizing on the current "counter culture" trend of 1969, the store originally sold Levi's jeans (price at that time: $7 US) and LP records for the youth market. The store was opened with just $63,000 in capital but by 1970, sales topped $2 million, and a second store was opened in San Jose. By 1973, the chain had grown to 25 stores and was spreading across the United States. The company began selling its own private-label clothing in 1974.
The Gap, Inc. acquired Banana Republic, then a small venture that offered safari-themed clothing, in 1983. Banana Republic's image and product lines were made over to become the upscale apparel store known by consumers today. The Gap, Inc. then launched Old Navy in 1994, to cover the lower-priced end of the retail clothing market. Shoe retailer Piperlime was created in 2006, and the company rounded out its offerings with Athleta, an athletic apparel retailer for women, which they acquired in 2009.
Today, The Gap, Inc. has more than 3,100 stores worldwide, covering the United States, United Kingdom (the location of the first international store), Canada, China, France, Ireland, Japan and Italy. Franchise retail outlets are also present in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
The company is known for its quality clothing, the memorable advertising campaigns for all the stores under its corporate umbrella and for its social activism. Gap was a participant in the Product Red project, donating 50% of its Product Red profits to global causes. By 2011, Product Red has raised more than $170 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Fragrances for Gap and its brand Banana Republic are produced on collaboration with Inter Parfums, Inc. The first Gap-branded offerings were four unisex scents—Grass, Earth, Day and Heaven—launched in 1994. The company continues to produce new fragrances for men and women has expanded its fragrance line to include accompanying body care products.