Saturday, January 20, 2007

Banana Republic To Open in Malaysia and Singapore

Actress Sharon Stone wore its blanket as a wrap to compliment her gown during an award show few years back and actor Matthew Broderick won the hearts of the Stepford wives in its khakis. What do these two celebs have in common?

Well, they both wore Banana Republic, one of America's most iconic luxury that almost everyone can afford. While it might be familiar to some of us who has been to the States but to be honest, Banana Republic still remains unknown in this part of this world and the only place to get the products (last season, read) is through the Factory Outlets stores that sprouts like mushrooms all over Asia.

Therefore, its parent company Gap Inc. and Asia's prominent lifestyle retailer FJ Benjamin have signed an agreement to bring the its two renowned brands, Gap and Banana Republic to our fair shores. According to the agreement, Gap Inc. has granted Singapore-based FJ Benjamin to exclusive rights to operate Banana Republic and Gap stores in Malaysia and Singapore, two key markets of the South East Asia.

“We are bringing Gap and Banana Republic to more customers throughout the world,” said Andrew Rolfe, President of Gap Inc. International in a statement released by the company. “Singapore is a shopping destination for Southeast Asia and Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing markets with shopping malls. F J Benjamin has significant expertise in this market and we’re delighted to enter this collaboration with them to bring Gap’s fresh, casual, American style and Banana Republic’s affordable luxury to fashion-savvy customers.”

On the other hand, Mr. Frank Benjamin, Chairman and CEO of F J Benjamin, commented, “We are excited to be working with Gap Inc. Gap and Banana Republic are global fashion icons and we intend to aggressively launch and grow these brands in Singapore and Malaysia.”

Last October, FJ Benjamin opened its first South East Asia stores in Malaysia and Singapore, with the latter being the region's flagship store. In Malaysia, Gap's first store is located at One Utama Shopping Center and carries ready-to-wear for both men and women. A Gap Women store will be open soon at Lot 10 Shopping Center followed by Gap Kids/BabyGap store at Mid Valley Megamall later this year. The first Banana Republic stores for both countries will be open this year and FJ Benjamin is expected to open 30 stores within both countries by 2010.

So fashion followers who have been longing for luxury at a price you can pay (besides those that we can get at Zara), consider it as your prayers answered.

*Photos courtesy of Gap Inc.

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