Gap has appointed former Timberland director Michael Stanier as vice-president and managing director for UK retail and European franchise operations. He replaces Barbara Cook who has been promoted to senior vice-president for stores and operations at Gap North America.
Stanier, who was Timberland’s Europe retail director, will also oversee franchising, prompting speculation that the retailer is considering the launch of franchised businesses in Europe. At present, Gap’s European presence is limited to company-owned stores in the UK, Ireland and France.
Earlier this month the retailer reported a 19% rise in quarterly profits folllowing a cost-cutting drive, although sales remained sluggish. The company said that it made a profit of $152m (£75.6m) in the three months to 4 August, compared to $128m (£63.7m) in the same period last year.
At the end of last year Gap recruited a European design team to create merchandise for Britain and France in a bid to fight declining sales. The London-based team was responsible for designing this season’s adult collection in European stores.
In the past 18 months, Gap has overhauled its strategy and is reported to be reviewing its UK store portfolio. It is understood to have put 10% of its stores on the market as it refocuses around its most profitable locations.