|Type||Division of Gap|
Mill Valley, California, U.S.
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Sonia Syngal (CEO of parent Gap, Inc.)|
Mark Breitbard (President & CEO)
|Parent||Gap Inc. (1983–present)|
It was founded in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler, who originally called the company "Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company." The original concept for the company was to sell items that fit a safari theme. The couple worked for the San Francisco Chronicle. He was a reporter. She was an illustrator. They lived in an apartment on Russian Hill.
In 1978, they quit their jobs, moved to Tamalpais Valley. They wanted to start a business for income. But first, Mel received a magazine assignment to explore Australia for a few weeks with other journalists. In 1983, Gap purchased the company, changed the name to "Banana Republic," and rebranded the stores to achieve a more upscale image.
The original Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978. The couple was known for acquiring interesting clothing items that their travel-related jobs brought them in contact with. They eventually opened a store in the Mill Valley area of Northern California. They were known for a hand-drawn catalogue of items with fictional traveler/explorer stories printed alongside, and their safari-themed retail locations. The Zieglers recount their adventures in the first ten years in their memoir, Wild Company, published in 2012 by Simon and Schuster.
Gap Inc. acquired Banana Republic in 1983. eventually rebranding it as a mainstream luxury clothing retailer. The literate articles, hand-drawn catalog, and eccentric tourist-oriented items were phased out and were replaced with more luxurious, but not unique, items for which the brand is currently known.
The company operates more than 500 Banana Republic stores in the United States (including Puerto Rico), 40 stores in Canada, and 61 stores beyond North America. The Gap, Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements for Gap and Banana Republic in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2015 Banana Republic opened a new flagship in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue and 18th Street.
Banana Republic opened its first store outside North America in 2005 in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district. Banana Republic's presence in South Korea debuted in August 2007 with a store in the Apkujeong district of Seoul.
Banana Republic opened its first store in Turkey in March 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.
In March 2008, Banana Republic opened its 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) store on Regent Street in London, England. On May 9, 2008, Banana Republic opened its store on Greenbelt 5 in Makati, Philippines.
In August 2020, Banana Republic alongside Gap announced that they will close over 225 store locations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original plan was to close only 90 stores, however, they expanded the number as a consequence of the financial effects caused by the pandemic. The company has not stated the exact locations that will be closed, but most will be stores within malls.
As of the end of the first quarter of 2011, Banana Republic had 682 company-owned or franchised stores in operation across 32 countries, shipped to 21 countries through company owned websites, and had the ability to ship to more than 50 countries through a 3rd party.
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