- Banana Republic on Thursday announced an expansion into two new categories with the launch of baby and athletics lines, according to information sent to Retail Dive.
- BR Baby is a 40-piece collection that "evokes a whimsical and adventurous spirit" and is "committed to being more gender-inclusive," according to the company. Sizes range from 0 to 24 months, and prices are from $20 to $250. The collection will be online and in stores beginning Tuesday.
- BR Athletics is a gender-inclusive capsule collection "inspired by retro athletic style, re-interpreted with an irreverent attitude," according to the company. Sizes range from XXS to XXL, and prices are from $20 to $500. It will be available online and in stores on March 16.
Banana Republic, which was once known for its dressy workwear options, is adapting to a world where the office — and apparel — is changing.
The Gap Inc. brand has been struggling in recent years, and in November reported a third quarter net sales decline of 18% versus 2019 and a two-year comparable sales decline of 10%.
Not to be deterred, Banana Republic announced in September that it was revamping its brand identity to focus on "democratic, approachable and inclusive luxury," by creating new product stories for its physical stores and digital channels, and refreshing its product design and fabrics.
"Call it post-genre fashion. Or call it post-fashion altogether: The New Look is less about fashion and more about living," Chief Brand Officer Ana Andjelic said in a statement at the time of the brand reboot. "To get there, we mixed the mythical American look, San Francisco imagination, and the late 1990s. Keywords are utilitarian chic and modern casualwear. Safari meets tuxedo, formalwear meets casualwear, menswear meets womenswear, vintage meets tailoring, functionality meets imagination."
By November, Andjelic was out of the company after less than a year.
Now the company is expanding its apparel mix by going into new categories and thus perhaps bringing in a new audience to its brand.
"BR Baby and BR Athletics mix the mainstream with the unexpected and deliver elevated, thoroughly modern, lifestyle collections," Sandra Stangl, president and CEO of Banana Republic, said in a statement. "We approached both by deconstructing what made Banana Republic successful in the first place — taking things that people already know, have nostalgia for, and framing them in new ways that feel fresh.
At the start of the year, Morgan Stanely downgraded Gap Inc., with analysts warning that its Q3 performance and recent guidance cut reflects "mis-execution" and "communication shortfalls" with the retailer. The company is expected to report fourth quarter results Thursday.