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TEL AVIV-Gap Inc. is in a partnership to bring its namesake chain and Banana Republic stores to Israel. Locally based Elbit Trade & Retail Ltd. will handle the rollout for the San Francisco-based apparel giant, and the first Gap store is set to open in the fall, while the first Banana Republic is scheduled to open next year.

Gap current operates 82 Gaps and 32 Banana Republics in 14 foreign markets. The company has a Middle Eastern presence in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Stores are expected to open in Egypt and Jordan as well.

Elbit has brought the Spain-based chain Mango to Israel, where it operates 20 stores and four outlet units. The firm also owns shopping and entertainment centers in Asia and Eastern Europe through its subsidiary Plaza Centers and developed the 279,864-square-foot Arena Mall here in Herzliya.

Earlier this month, Gap named David Zoba its senior vice president of corporate real estate. Zoba was formerly chief operating office at Columbus, OH-based developer Steiner + Associates.

As Gap expands internationally, it is closing more stores overall than it is opening. In its latest-reported fiscal year the company expected to open 100 stores and close 115. It operates about 3,200 stores in total.

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