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May 5, 2009
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Gap names head of Banana Republic merchandising

By
Reuters
Published
May 5, 2009

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO, May 5 (Reuters) - Gap Inc (GPS.N) on Tuesday 5 May named returning company veteran Julie Rosen as senior vice president of merchandising for its Banana Republic brand, whose higher prices have turned off cost-conscious shoppers during the downturn.


Banana Republic Spring-Summer 2009

Rosen, who left Gap in 2006, spent 15 years at the San Francisco-based apparel retailer in a variety of merchandising roles, including head of merchandising for the Gap brand.

At Banana Republic, the company's more upscale chain that emphasizes affordable luxury, Rosen will lead all product merchandising for men, women and accessories and manage licensing relationships with vendors.

Rosen, who most recently worked as an apparel retail consultant, will report to Banana Republic President Jack Calhoun.

Gap has seen sliding sales recently as its Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains mature and consumers gravitate to rivals.

Chief Executive Glenn Murphy, who is managing a turnaround to revitalize growth, recently called the Banana Republic business "disappointing to us of late."

The higher-end customer shopping at Banana Republic has cut back on purchases and traded down to lower-priced brands. To better position the chain in the economic downturn, Banana Republic has been trying to adjust its product mix to include more casual, rather than work, fashions.

The 450-store U.S. chain has posted the worst declines in same-store sales -- which measure sales at stores open at least a year -- of all three chains in the last two months.

Gap posts April sales results on Thursday. (Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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