Accessible luxury, elevated design.
|Type||Division of Gap Inc.|
|Founded||Mill Valley, California, U.S.
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Number of locations||642|
|Key people||Glenn K. Murphy (CEO of parent Gap, Inc.)
Jack Calhoun (President)
Simon Kneen (CD)
Banana Republic is a clothing and accessories retailer owned by American multinational corporation Gap Inc. It was founded in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler with a safari theme; in 1983, Gap purchased the company and gave it a more upscale image. Banana Republic has over 600 stores located internationally.
The original Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978. It was a two-store safari and travel themed clothing company. The majority of sales came from its eccentric[by whom?], hand-illustrated catalog, which presented high-end and unique items with chatty, usually fictional backstories from exotic locations, as well as more pedestrian[by whom?] high-volume products deliberately spiced up with a similar treatment. Many of the backstories were written by well-known authors including Cyra McFadden, author also of The Serial and Rain or Shine. As Banana Republic expanded its retail operation, it became known for the themed decoration in its stores, often featuring authentic elements, such as real Jeeps and foliage, as well as atmospheric elements, such as fog and steam.
The Gap, Inc. acquired Banana Republic in 1983, eventually rebranding it as a mainstream luxury clothing retailer. The literate articles, hand-drawn catalogue, and eccentric tourist-oriented items were phased out and were replaced with more luxurious, but less unique, items for which the brand is currently known (as of 2012). To set itself apart from Gap as a more upmarket brand, Banana Republic occasionally buys and refurbishes historic buildings for its retail locations.
The company operates more than 500 Banana Republic stores in the United States (including Puerto Rico) and 26 stores in Canada. The Gap, Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements for Gap and Banana Republic in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Banana Republic opened its first store outside North America in 2005 in Ginza, Tokyo's most prestigious upscale shopping district. Banana Republic's presence in South Korea debuted on August 24, 2007 with a flagship store in the trendy Apkujeong district of Seoul. In 2007, the first Banana Republic stores opened at The Avenues shopping mall in Kuwait City, Kuwait; Senayan City in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Banana Republic opened its first store in Turkey on March 15, 2008 in the Kanyon Shopping Mall in Istanbul. By May 2008, İstinye Park Shopping Mall and Nişantaşı stores were also opened in Istanbul. More stores are planned to be opened in Ankara and İzmir by the end of 2008 to bring the total number of stores in Turkey to six.
On March 20, 2008, Banana Republic opened its 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) flagship store on Regent Street in London, England. On May 9, 2008, Banana Republic opened its flagship store on Greenbelt 5 in Makati City, Philippines.
As of the end of Q1 2011, Banana Republic had 642 company owned or franchised stores in operation across 32 countries, shipped to 20 countries through company owned websites, and had the ability to ship to more than 50 countries through a 3rd party.
- Latin America
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- Banana Republic · U.S. official website.
- Banana Republic · Canadian official website.
- Banana Republic · Japanese official website.
- Banana Republic . European official website.