Banana Republic

Cheryl Cagle is the database/affiliates director for Direct Marketing IQ, the home of direct marketing research, and Who's Mailing What!

Gap announced Rebekka Bay, the designer recruited in 2012 to help reboot the iconic brand, is out of the company. "In evaluating the right leadership structure for the brand," Gap is "eliminating the Creative Director role, resulting in Rebekka Bay's departure from the company, effective immediately," the company wrote in a press release. Bay's departure is the latest in a slew of changes spurred by incoming CEO Art Peck. In November, Peck named new presidents for the $16 billion company's Gap and Banana Republic brands, and last week shuttered its digital Piperlime business.

Gap is dropping its small Piperlime online brand so the apparel maker and retailer can focus on fixing the problems bedeviling its much bigger namesake and Banana Republic brands. Piperlime, which Gap founded in 2006 as a rival to's, sold shoes, clothing and accessories via e-commerce and through a store in New York's SoHo district. But it never caught on with a wide audience beyond its core, dedicated customers, and its revenues never topped $100 million, a drop in the bucket for a company with annual sales exceeding $16 billion.

San Francisco-based Gap Inc. signed deals to open Old Navy stores in six countries in the Middle East next year. Franchisees Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co. and Azadea will open the new stores beginning in the U.A.E., Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Gap has had Gap and Banana Republic stores in the region since 2007. "Entering the Middle East is an important milestone in our strategy to share Old Navy with a broader, global customer base," said Robert Frank, executive vice president of Old Navy International, in a company statement. 

Gap said late Wednesday that Glenn Murphy will resign as its chairman and chief executive on Feb. 1, and the retailer will promote its digital leader Art Peck to CEO. The San Francisco company, which operates Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, said Wednesday that Murphy's resignation coincides with the end of its current fiscal year. He has been Gap's chairman and CEO since July 2007 and oversaw a turnaround that has lost steam in recent months.

Follow Banana Republic or sister brand Old Navy on Twitter or Facebook and you'll be taken behind the scenes on ad shoots or offered styling tips. Theirs are typical fashion brand feeds, albeit produced with more sophistication and digital savvy than some competitors. But take a look at the social media accounts of parent company Gap and you'll see the 45-year-old retail giant has been carefully cultivating a web presence focused on feminism, equal pay and progressive values.

Retail sales climbed in July, led by Gap and L Brands, in what is typically a slow, clearance-driven month for retailers ahead of the back-to-school season. Costco Wholesale, however, underperformed, marking the first time in five months that the warehouse club chain's sales have increased less than expected. The company said foreign currencies had a

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