Gap Inc. on Tuesday announced Andi Owen, global brand president of Banana Republic, will leave in late February, after 25 years with the company. CEO Art Peck will directly oversee the brand during the search for her replacement, according to a company press release.
The workwear brand has been a drag on the company’s results for several quarters, even during Gap Inc.’s surprise holiday boom. Third quarter same-store sales at Gap and Banana Republic fell 8%, while rising 3% at Old Navy.
Banana Republic shuttered all its U.K. stores last year and, according to retail research and consulting firm Conlumino, its U.S. sales have declined 16% over three years.
Gap Inc. and Banana Republic executives have been struggling to breathe new life into the faltering brand. Last fall, the unit announced a new collaboration with fashion influencer Olivia Palermo, after Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star Kevin Love was tapped as Banana Republic's first men's global style ambassador.
Those efforts appear to be an attempt to boost fashion and style at a time when few clear fashion trends outside of athleisure have emerged, which Peck lamented last year. The Palermo and Love campaigns debuted globally last September in stores and through marketing efforts. But the brand may not have had the time it needed to see traction from them, or from its improved merchandising, which were noted by Guggenheim’s Howard Tubin last summer: “Banana Republic is delivering more commercially friendly patterns and key item offerings.”
Since joining Gap Inc. in 1991, Owen has held a variety of key roles at the company, including executive vice president and general manager for Gap Global Outlet and senior vice president and general manager for Banana Republic Factory Stores, the company said in a press release. Despite her lengthy experience with the company, Gap may want to jolt the brand by shaking up its leadership.
“During her time with Banana Republic, Andi led critical work improving the brand’s aesthetic and product quality and moved the brand to a full omni-channel assortment,” Peck said in a statement. “While these improvements have been important steps forward, we have significant work to do in order to consistently win with customers. Andi and I agreed that now was an appropriate time for a change in leadership.”