BANANA REPUBLIC TO LAUNCH BATH BUNCH

Byline: Cara Kagan

NEW YORK--The Gap has decided that what's good for the masses is good for the better classes.
After launching a Gap bath and body line last fall, the company is expanding the concept to its tonier sister store. At the end of this month, the San Bruno, Calif., firm will roll out the Banana Republic Body Care collection to 12 stores in the New York area--in Manhasset, Bridgehampton and Roosevelt, N.Y., all on Long Island, and nine stores in New York City.
According to a Gap spokeswoman, the collection is expected to be launched in mid-March to 26 of Banana Republic's 180 doors nationwide.
Banana Republic's new personal care lineup consists of 21 stockkeeping items of soaps, body lotions, body creams, bath oils, bubble baths, shampoos, conditioners, scented candles, bath salts and shower gels. There also are accessories, including pumice stones, bath brushes and sponges.
Prices for the line range from $3.50 for a small soap to $20 for a 13-oz. bath oil. All the items are perfumed with the same fragrance, a clean, soapy scent the company has named "Classic." The candles and the soaps will also be available in White Flower and Green Vine scents.
The Banana Republic bath and body products, like The Gap line, are meant to be unisex. The two gender-specific exceptions to the Banana Republic line are the fragrances. There is a 3.5-oz. women's eau de perfume, called W, for $37.50, and a 3.5-oz. men's cologne, dubbed M, for $37.50.
The Gap bath and body division is headed by Gary McNatton, former president of Mottura Inc., a now defunct bath and body company that was based in San Francisco.
As previously noted, the division's first efforts were Gap Scents, which bowed on Nov. 1.
Gap Scents is currently being test marketed in 52 U.S. and six Canadian Gap doors.
While Gap executives declined to comment on either line or to make sales projections, industry sources have estimated Gap Scents could do more than $300 to $400 per square foot annually.
Sources said Banana Republic Body Care probably would do a bit less, since there are fewer transactions at those stores' higher prices.

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