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Banana Republic Invents New Term to Explain Its Struggles

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Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

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Banana Republic's former creative director Marissa Webb stepped down to a lower position last month after her more fashion-forward designs failed to appeal to the retailer's customers. In an effort to describe the hardships the company is facing with the designs, a spokesman for Banana Republic told Fortune that it has faced "product acceptance challenges" — which sounds like a fancy way to say people just weren't really into the designs.

"Product acceptance challenges" or not, the company's sales plummeted another 15% last month, marking the fourth month in a row the company has reported double-digit losses. The ousting of Webb isn't the only change Banana Republic is making in hopes of increasing product acceptance among customers. The retailer is also reconfiguring its manufacturing process so that products move more quickly from concept to shelves. The new process will be much more similar to Old Navy's, which is the one successful company in the Gap Inc. family.

Banana Republic is working to get back on track after investing too heavily in certain styles and not offering enough of what customers seek from BR. During an investor meeting in June of this year, brand president Andi Owen noted that Banana Republic had focused too heavily on crop tops while neglecting colors and prints.