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Banana Republic is an Americanmarker clothing brand founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978 as a travel-themed clothing company. It was bought by The Gap in 1983. The company has over 500 stores located internationally.


The original Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978. It was a two-store safari and travel-themed clothing company. The majority of sales came from its eccentric, hand illustrated catalog, which presented high-end and unique items with chatty, usually fictional backstories from exotic locations, as well as more pedestrian high-volume products deliberately spiced up with a similar treatment. As Banana Republic expanded its retail operation, it became known for the themed decoration in its stores, often featuring authentic elements, such as real Jeeps and foliage, as well as atmospheric elements, such as fog and steam.

The Gap, Inc. acquired Banana Republic in 1983, eventually rebranding it as a mainstream luxury clothing retailer. The eccentric tourist-oriented items were phased out and were replaced with more luxurious items for which the brand is currently known. To set itself apart from Gap as a more upmarket brand, Banana Republic occasionally buys and refurbishes historic buildings for its retail locations.


  • 1978 - The first Banana Republic store opens in Mill Valley, Californiamarker.
  • 1979 - Banana Republic begins to distribute a Safari and Imported Surplus Catalog.
  • 1983 - The Gap, Inc. acquires Banana Republic - a two-store mail-order safari and travel clothing company.
  • 1984 - The Banana Republic Summer 1984 catalog reaches over one million people. Catalog orders are 50% of sales.
  • 1988 - Banana Republic opens its 100th store.
  • 1988 - Banana Republic discontinues its Travel & Safari catalogs.
  • 1990 - The Gap, Inc.'s 1,000th store opens - a Banana Republic in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker.
  • 1993 - Banana Republic begins its transition to a lifestyle brand by broadening its offerings beyond clothing to include jewelry and small leather products.
  • 1995 - The first Banana Republic store opens outside the United States in Edmontonmarker, Albertamarker.
  • 1995 - Banana Republic continues its lifestyle branding by introducing personal care and shoe lines.
  • 1996 - Banana Republic introduces gift and home accessories collections.
  • 1998 - Banana Republic debuts its first national television commercials, featuring Banana Republic suede.
  • 1998 - Banana Republic introduces the company's first private label credit cards (they are the first brand to pilot this program).
  • 1998 - Banana Republic annual sales exceed $1 billion.
  • 1999 - Banana Republic launches its online store at
  • 2000 - Banana Republic is featured on NBC's popular sitcom Will & Grace. In several episodes, Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is a Banana Republic sales associate.
  • 2001 - Banana Republic launches petite sizes in an online-exclusive debut.
  • 2004 - Banana Republic collaborates with Bravo to combine product placement with on-air content resulting in the hit reality series Project Runway.
  • 2005 - The first Banana Republic in Japan opens in Printemps Ginzamarker, Tokyomarker, Japanmarker.
  • 2007 - The first Banana Republic franchise store opens in Manamamarker, Bahrainmarker, followed by stores in Jakartamarker, Indonesiamarker; Kuwait Citymarker, Kuwaitmarker; Abu Dhabimarker, United Arab Emiratesmarker; Kuala Lumpurmarker, Malaysiamarker; Singaporemarker; Seoulmarker, South Koreamarker; and Muscat, Omanmarker.
  • 2008 - The first Banana Republic store in Englandmarker opens on Regent Streetmarker in Londonmarker.
  • 2009 - Banana Republic unveils its 'Revolution' store concept in Las Vegas, Scottsdalemarker and SoHomarker.


The company operates more than 500 Banana Republic stores in the United States (including Puerto Rico) and 26 stores in Canada. The Gap, Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements for Gap and Banana Republic in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Banana Republic opened its first store outside North America in 2005 in Ginza, Tokyo's most prestigious shopping district. Banana Republic's presence in South Korea debuted on August 24, 2007 with a flagship store in the Apkujeong district of Seoul. In 2007, the first Banana Republic stores opened at The Avenues shopping mall in Kuwait City, Kuwait; Senayan Citymarker in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Banana Republic opened its first store in Turkeymarker on March 15, 2008 in the Kanyon Shopping Mallmarker in Istanbulmarker. By May 2008, İstinyemarker Park Shopping Mall and Nişantaşımarker stores were also opened in Istanbul. More stores are planned to be opened in Ankaramarker and İzmirmarker by the end of 2008 to bring the total number of stores in Turkey to six.

On March 20, 2008, Banana Republic opened its flagship store on the luxurious Regent Street in London, Englandmarker. On May 9, 2008, Banana Republic opened its flagship store on Greenbelt 5 in Makati Citymarker, Philippinesmarker.


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