Banana Republic's London Opening

Banana Republic opens here today in what will be a litmus test for further expansion of the Gap Inc.-owned brand across Europe.

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"It's for our customers who want that extra bit of luxury," said Borzyszkowska.

Prices at the store range from 35 pounds, or $70 at current exchange, for a women's bracelet, to 95 pounds, or $190, for a silk dress. Monogram's prices range from 49 pounds, or $98, for a women's blouse, to 300 pounds, or $600, for a long leather jacket for evening. Men's collections will mirror these price levels.

Borzyszkowska said prices are moderately higher than in the U.S. to account for the higher costs of operating in the U.K.

The look of the store is warm and elegant with neutral colors on the walls, dark wood laminate counters and display islands and a dramatic spiral staircase in the corner.

Lining the staircase are photo prints curated by London's Michael Hoppen Gallery. They feature black-and-white shots of Winston Churchill, the Empire State Building and Jackie Kennedy. Throughout, the space has been made intimate with Art Deco furniture, Richard Serra prints and various objets. "We've been working with lots of London talent to create the final look," said Borzyszkowska. "But it's still in keeping with the Banana Republic look."

A key emphasis of the store will be on service, with a concierge service to book restaurants and deliver purchases to customers' hotels, multilingual staff and in-store stylists.

Stephen Sunnucks, president of Gap Inc. Europe, said: "With its affinity for fashion and luxury products, London has the potential to be a strong market for Banana Republic. This is an exciting first step for Banana Republic in Europe."
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