Banana Republic Got Clobbered Last Month

The brand's sales sunk 17 percent in January.
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Eliza Brooke
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The brand's sales sunk 17 percent in January.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Much like anyone waking up on Jan. 1 with a crushing hangover, Gap Inc. started the year on a queasy note, at least when it came to its sales figures. The retailer reported on Monday afternoon that during January, its revenue declined from $888 million last year to $813 million this time around. Old Navy and Gap brand's sales both dropped 6 percent compared to the same time in 2015. For Gap, that was actually an improvement as it saw a 9 percent decline in 2015. Things at Banana Republic, however, were much worse.

The brand's comparable sales — those coming from stores that have been open a full year — dropped by 17 percent compared to the year prior, when its sales improved marginally. For the fourth quarter of the year, the results from which Gap Inc. will be releasing in full later this month, Banana Republic's revenue was also down 14 percent. It's a fairly dramatic dip, but not a particularly surprising one: the brand has spent the past few years attempting to improve its positioning, by hiring designer Marissa Webb as its creative director in April 2014, revamping some of its stores and entering the New York Fashion Week fray. After sales didn't improve much, Banana Republic moved Webb into a "creative advisor" role in October 2015.

Before the fourth quarter's results come out on Feb. 25, Banana Republic will have another shot at changing the conversation with its fashion week presentation on Saturday. Like many other brands, it's going consumer-facing, making select styles available for purchase as soon as the show begins. Fingers crossed shoppers actually show up for it.