Company News

Gap names Breitbard as Banana Republic head

People carrying umbrellas pass by a Gap store on 5th avenue in midtown Manhattan in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Gap Inc GPS.N on Tuesday named Mark Breitbard as chief executive of its Banana Republic unit, as the retailer looks to revamp the brand, which has been struggling with sales declines.

Breitbard, who will join Gap in early May, was most recently the CEO of San Francisco-based children’s apparel retailer Gymboree Corp.

Gap, once known for its logo-emblazoned hoodies and sweat shirts, has been looking to replicate the success of its low-end Old Navy brand at its Gap and Banana Republic businesses.

Like other traditional apparel retailers, Gap is battling shoppers' changing preferences as many turn to online retailers or buy at fast-fashion chains such as H&M HMb.ST and Inditex's ITX.MC Zara that offer trendier clothes at cheaper prices.

Breitbard, who will replace Andi Owen, was also previously with Gap North America, Levi Strauss & Co and Abercrombie & Fitch ANF.N.

Breitbard, who was also chief merchandising and creative officer of Gap’s Old Navy brand from 2009 to early 2010, will report to CEO Art Peck in his new role.

The company said late last month that it had expected comparable sales to be flat to up slightly in 2017, reversing two straight years of declines, indicating that the company’s turnaround efforts are gaining momentum.

Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel