BANANA REPUBLIC PLANS NEW SCENT
Byline: Julie Naughton
NEW YORK — After a five-year hiatus, Banana Republic is returning to the fragrance introduction fray with BR, a women’s scent intended to appeal to the same urban, chic women that buy the retailer’s clothes.
The new scent is comprised of top notes of juicy clementine, grapefruit zest, tropical mango and canna flower; a heart of white magnolia, Chinese jasmine, crisp blue hyacinth and yerba de mate, and a finish of natural sequoia wood, orris root and green pepper. The juice was created by Jean-Claude DeVille of Firmenich; DeVille also created Banana Republic’s Classic, W and M scents.
“While it’s been several years since we’ve released a scent, my feeling is that fragrances are created in their own time — you can’t force them,” said Gary McNatton, senior vice president of personal care for Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy and creative director for Gap Body. “I know a fragrance is done when I smell it in the air. When I imagine it with the clothes, the architecture, the customer, that’s when I know it’s right. And I knew when I smelled this in the air that this was our fragrance.”
BR will be followed in the fourth quarter by a second women’s scent for the retail chain. As well, McNatton has two additional scents — one men’s, one women’s, both for sister store Gap — which will also launch this fall.
The target age group for BR, said McNatton, is expected to be similar to Banana Republic’s core female store customer — a 30- to 40-year-old woman. “This customer has a grown-up style and knows how to put things together — how to mix her life and her fragrance with a respect for her family and home,” he said. “It’s also a scent that can be worn both for casual occasions and more formal ones. BR will be offered in two sizes — a 15-ml. version for $15 and a 50-ml. size for $35 — and will be released with one ancillary product, an 8-oz. body lotion that will retail for $15.
The fragrance’s packaging is intended to be a mix of the casual and the luxurious, said McNatton. The outer box is a simple corrugated Kraft-paper square debossed with a gold BR logo, which opens to reveal a gold lining. Inside, the round-bottomed glass bottle also has a gold debossed BR logo.
The fragrance launches April 15 in Banana Republic’s approximately 380 North American doors and on bananarepublic.com. While McNatton wouldn’t comment on projected first-year sales, industry sources estimated that it would do upward of $7 million at retail in its first year on-counter.
Promotional plans include displays in Banana Republic storefront windows, which will be installed from April 24 to May 12, “which puts us right into the Mother’s Day gift-giving season,” said McNatton. National print advertising isn’t currently planned, but is “under consideration,” said McNatton. In addition, more than 500,000 sample vials will be distributed, along with a scented strip that will be sent out with bills to Banana Republic’s credit card holders.