Banana Republic, Meet Recession

by SAMANTHA QUEEN · April 23, 2008

brNot too long ago I found myself stumbling around the Village with a group of friends after a day of reliving our respective youths (read: bar crawl). Boy, was I shocked when I ran into BR Monogram, Banana Republic’s new luxury store, on none other than … Bleeker and Sixth? Surely this was a mirage, a drunken hallucination, an Urban Outfitters in Banana Republic’s clothing (no pun intended); but alas, I was not in Midtown. I was in the Village, standing before Banana Republic’s very own offensive in the battle for the better market. And “offensive” is just the right word for it.

Or maybe the right word is “star-crossed.” As much as parent company Gap, Inc. should’ve seen recession coming – I think it became obvious when people were paying upwards of $300 for small doses of aged balsamic vinegar – there was no rush on gold bullion, if you know what I mean. That is to say that the timing seems really unlucky, despite the fact that Gap’s analysts probably could’ve recognized and factored in the probability. That being said, it should (but won’t) go without saying that hindsight is 20/20 and that ostriches aren’t the only ones to stick their heads in the sand when shit starts going south.

Well, so sad for Gap, Inc. (which, if you care, has been having a REALLY bad couple of years). But before you take that bleeding heart over to BR Monogram and bust the budget on their 40% markups, make sure you save a little room for J. Crew’s high-end offshoot (as if they needed one), set to hit the UES this summer. If nothing else, at least that one will be appropriately located.