In the wake of ongoing difficulties, including a disappointing holiday stretch, Andi Owen, global brand president of Banana Republic, will leave the company in late February, Gap Inc. said Tuesday.
A search is under way for Banana Republic’s next president. In the meantime, Gap Inc. chief executive officer Art Peck will oversee the brand.
Asked if Owen’s departure was forced or voluntary, a Gap Inc. spokeswoman did not directly address the question, but replied, “Andi has been a valued member of the Gap Inc. team and made a significant positive impact during her 25-year tenure with the company. While we have taken critical steps forward over the past two years, Andi and Art agreed that this was an appropriate time for a change in leadership as work continues to bring Banana Republic back to health.”
Overall, the $15.8 billion Gap Inc. had an OK holiday season, recently reporting that net sales were up 1 percent and comparable sales were positive 2 percent for the November and December 2016 period.
The Banana Republic division posted comparable store sales that were negative 7 percent, on top of negative 9 percent for the November-December 2015 period.
By no means is Banana Republic the only fashion specialty retailer struggling. Ann Taylor, Dressbarn, J. Crew, Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters’ Anthropologie Group have all recently been down. In addition, Limited this year shut down all of its stores, and American Apparel is in the process of closing all of its stores.
“Andi has been an accomplished leader at Gap Inc. playing a number of key roles across Banana Republic, Old Navy and Gap,” Peck said. “I am grateful for her partnership and for Andi’s many contributions to the company during her 25-year tenure.
“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 omnichannel assortment. 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,” Peck continued.
Since joining Gap Inc. in 1991, Owen has held a variety of 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.
Gap Inc. also operates Gap, Old Navy, Athleta and Intermix.