Mar 14, 2017
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Gap names Breitbard as Banana Republic head

Mar 14, 2017

Gap Inc on Tuesday named Mark Breitbard as chief executive of its Banana Republic unit, as the retailer looks to revamp the brand, which has been struggling with sales declines.

Breitbard, who will join Gap in early May, was most recently the CEO of San Francisco-based children's apparel retailer Gymboree Corp.

Banana Republic has unveiled a new collaboration with Olivia Palermo as it seeks to boost sales

Casualwear retailer Gap has been looking to replicate the success of its low-end Old Navy brand at its Gap and higher-end Banana Republic businesses.

Banana Republic has been its worst performer with a succession of weak same-store sales reports and this has meant store closures as well as the brand exiting the UK market. But recent initiatives have included a see now, buy now show at New York Fashion Week, US pop-up stores and a collaboration collection with its style ambassador Olivia Palermo.

Like other traditional apparel retailers, Gap is battling shoppers' changing preferences as many turn to online retailers or buy at fast-fashion chains such as H&M and Inditex's Zara that offer on-trend clothes at cheaper prices.

Breitbard, who will replace Andi Owen, has a strong track record with a seties of major names and was also previously with Gap North America, Levi Strauss & Co and Abercrombie & Fitch. He will report to CEO Art Peck in his new role, Gap said.

The company said late last month that it had expected comparable sales to be flat to up slightly in 2017, reversing two straight years of declines, indicating that the company's turnaround efforts are gaining momentum.

Additional reporting by Sandra Halliday

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