News Briefs


Banana Republic enters new product category

Banana Republic

Banana Republic is following in the footsteps of its sister brand, Gap.

The retailer, a division of Gap Inc., has launched BR Home, an upscale home goods collection with bedding, décor and rugs. Available online and in select Banana Republic U.S. stores as of March 28, BR prices range from $80 for plush decorative pillows to $6,500 for luxurious, handwoven rugs made in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. 

“Our expanded home collection is central to our vision to be the premier lifestyle brand that positions BR as an experiential and cultural cornerstone in our customers’ lives,” said Sandra Stangl, president and CEO of Banana Republic. “Banana Republic is a destination for discovery, adventure and imagination.”  

The products in the collection, which is exclusively created and curated by Banana Republic, are made of the highest-quality materials and natural fabrics, such as fine European linen, plush cotton cashmere and organic cotton, the company stated.  

“Discovery and self-expression are an integral part of our customers’ lives at home, work and away,” said Aaron Rose, head of commerce and experience for Banana Republic. “We know our customers care deeply about great style, design, and quality in all aspects of their lives, and we are excited for BR Home to be a central part of their personal lifestyle.”   

BR Home builds on last fall’s launch of Art, Curated by Banana Republic, a collection of exclusive works from artists and photographers. 

In May 2021, the Gap brand teamed up with Walmart to launch a line of home goods, Gap Home, sold exclusively by the retail giant. In May 2022, the two retailers expanded the partnership to launch Gap Home Kids.

[Read More: Walmart expands home partnership with Gap Inc.]


Uniqlo to expand U.S. footprint


Uniqlo, a division of Japan-based Fast Retailing, is planning to open around 20 stores a year in the United States, with an ultimate goal of approximately 400 locations in the next few years, reported Women’s Wear Daily. Currently, Uniqlo operates 46 stores in the U.S. and another 16 in Canada.

On March 24, Uniqlo opened a 7,800-sq.-ft. store at  Newport Centre in Jersey City, N.J.  It’s the company’s fifth New Jersey location. Building on the retailer’s longtime support of refugees around the world, Uniqlo Newport Centre staff held a community shopping event with Welcome Home Jersey City, inviting newly arrived individuals and families to shop for new clothing. 

According to the WWD report, Uniqlo plans  add stores in existing markets where it already has built a foundation, including New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; San Francisco; Los Angeles and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing operates approximately 2,400 stores around the globe.


Paris Baguette to open 64-plus U.S. locations in 2023

paris baguette

Paris Baguette is expanding into Canada as it looks to expand its footprint across North America.

The French-inspired bakery café has opened its first location in Canada, at the Yonge Sheppard Centre in Toronto. It plans to open at least seven stores across Canada this year.

In addition, Paris Baguette plans to open 64-plus locations in the United States in 2023, including both corporate-owned and franchise locations. The company, whose portfolio currently includes 120 U.S. sites, has set a goal of 1,000 cafés in North America by 2030.

Paris Baguette’s initial growth in Canada will be concentrated in the following markets: Ontario, focusing on the greater Toronto area; Alberta, with locations in Edmonton and Calgary; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

At 2,300 sq. ft., the new Paris Baguette in Toronto has seating for up to 20 customers. It features the chain’s updated store environment, which includes a modern design with French architectural features that add eclectic flair.

Large self-serve displays feature an extensive menu of pastries, breads and cakes, and an open kitchen provides a window into Paris Baguette bakers and cakers at work. A large center island showcases signature treats.

 "The expansion of our bakery cafés into Canada marks an exciting period of growth for Paris Baguette," said Darren Tipton, CEO, Paris Baguette North America. "We can't wait to celebrate moments of joy with our guests as we establish our neighborhood bakery cafés in Toronto and bring our vision to life throughout Canada."

Paris Baguette is based in South Korea, and has nearly 4,000 locations worldwide. The company’s U.S. headquarters located in Moonachie, N.J.


Bloomingdale’s in a first with new C-suite post


Bloomingdale’s has added a new position in its executive suite.

The upscale department store retailer, which celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, has named Denise Magid its very first chief merchant. Magid will drive the strategic direction and performance of all Bloomingdale's merchandising initiatives, and ultimately influencing the future growth of the Bloomingdale's brand.

Magid joined Bloomingdales in 2019 as GMM, ready-to-wear, concessions, adding off-price in 2020 and women's accessories in 2021.  Prior to Bloomindale’s, she held senior leadership roles at both Intermix and Saks Fifth Avenue,

"We are confident that Denise's vision and leadership will continue to strengthen our relationships with our brand partners and further refine how we can cater to the unique needs of the Bloomingdale's customer. We look forward to Denise's impact in this newly created role," said Bloomingdale’s chairman and CEO Tony Spring.

The creation of the chief merchant role is a historic step for Bloomingdale's and allows the brand to build on the exciting momentum coming off its strong 2022 performance and its 150th anniversary celebration, the company said.

"I look forward to taking on the role of chief merchant and working closely with the GMMs and the Bloomingdale's team to push the boundaries of what's possible,” Magrid said. “Bloomingdale's  holds a special place in the retail landscape, yet I truly believe the best is yet to come."

A division of Macy's, Bloomindale’s currently operates 34 Bloomingdale's stores, 20 Bloomingdale's The Outlet stores, and two Bloomie's stores in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

In addition, Bloomingdale's has an international presence with a location in Dubai and Kuwait.


Study: Gen Z consumers least likely to reduce spending amid inflation

Gen Z shoppers

Consumer behavior and attitude toward inflation differs greatly by generation. 

Gen Z consumers are the least likely to report that inflation has impacted their spending, and they are most reluctant to reduce spending compared to other generations, according to a report by Jungle Scout, an all-in-one platform for e-commerce sellers.

The report found that, even amid inflation, Gen Z consumers are also setting a new standard for e-commerce, with 32% of shopping online at least once daily. This compares to 25% of Millennials, 15% of Gen X, and 7% of Baby Boomers.

Key findings from Jungle Scout’s “Q1 Consumer Trends Report” are below.

• Forty-three percent of Gen Z consumers start their online product searches on TikTok, a higher number than those who start on Google.

• Gen Z consumers are the most likely to shop secondhand online to save money, with 42% purchasing a pre-owned item online in the past year.

Millennials are more worried about their finances than any other generation and are nearly twice as likely to have an unstable household income compared to baby boomers.

Baby boomers are 78% more likely than Gen Z to purchase items on sale and are more likely than any other generation to use credit cards with money-saving perks. 

Fifty-six of Gen X and 43% of millennials are cutting back on fun/impulse purchases to save money, compared to only 37% of Gen Z consumers.

“In the world of e-commerce, one size does not fit all,” says Michael Scheschuk, president of small & medium business at Jungle Scout. “Businesses must understand each generation's unique values, preferences, and behaviors to create tailored strategies. As the youngest and newest cohort of shoppers, Gen Z offers invaluable insights into the current and future trends shaping retail.” 


CEO of GNC is out


Josh Burris has left the building.

Burris is no longer the CEO of GNC. Burris, who was named chief executive in February 2021, has not been with the nutritional supplements retailer since January 2023, according to his LinkedIn page. GNC has not issued a release on his departure. 

The news was first reported by Pittsburgh Business Times.

Burris joined GNC in 2019 as president and chief U.S. officer. Prior to that, he spend seven years, from 2012 to 2019, at AM Retail Group. Before AM, he was with Abercrombie & Fitch Co., from 1996, to 2012.

Burris’ appointment as chief executive of GNC followed its restructuring in 2020. which the company completed with new ownership, a reduced store portfolio and clean balance sheet. GNC filed for bankruptcy in June 2020, and several months later sold its assets to its largest shareholder, Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co.

NC operates more than 3,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

[Read More: GNC shifts customer contact center to cloud]