And here we are. After three weeks, sixteen competitors, and a ton of votes, we’re down to the final two. Banana Republic vs. last year’s champ, Lands’ End Canvas. For a full introduction to Store Wars, see this post. The bracket on the right has been updated to show how this all shook down. Click on it for the full size. Make a case for your preferred competitor in the comments section, but don’t forget to vote at the bottom of the match up. May the best store win.
Strengths: If you wanted to, and some would, you could build an entire good-looking wardrobe from casual to dressed up to everything in between out of stuff found at Banana Republic. Short of watches, they’ve got it all. They’re the top floor of GAP’s three story brand structure, and in the past year they’ve pulled even further away from mid-level GAP in terms of style. Prices remain relatively low as long as you hang out for sales and play the promo-code/coupon game. Their modern fit blazers and suits come with a welcome contour, higher than normal armholes, and slim shoulder pads. They’ve really stepped up their suiting game lately. The Italian fabrics used in some of their garments are superb. Outerwear is usually outstanding. Sweaters are right up there. Shopping experience in-store is usually clean and professional. Everything online ships free over $50. Returns are free in-store.
Weaknesses: Like all GAP brands, you’ve got to play the code and sale timing game, and then sometimes the exclusions can be numerous. Paying full retail at BR should rarely happen. Most of their goods are made in China. Many have complained about bad quality for their shoes. Mad Men/Monogram markup is steep.
Strengths: Last year’s champion. Nice, upgraded casual basics for good prices, and those prices can get dirt cheap when on sale/clearance. From blazers to shirts, shoes to pants, you could put together an entire outfit of just them. Handwritten thank you notes to first time customers, which has played a part in developing what appears to be a solidly loyal customer base. Despite some complaints, the ultra-cheap, Alden-Indy inspired Crosby Moc Toe. Their waxed cotton trip bag. Their guarantee. Not only is one of their models an SI Swimsuit model, their swimsuits have appeared in the issue as well.
Weaknesses: They seem to have lost a bit of their way, or perhaps they have some new strategy that reduces the number of items they produce and raises overall prices ($100 for a cardigan? $100 for… cargo pants?) Blazers can fit a little big sometimes, and this season’s blazers look to be running real short in the tail. Overall the brand is more fitted, certainly more so than Lands’ End, but not a true trim fit most of the time. Used to run sales and codes often. Now it’s more like a free-shipping-at-$50 code every once in awhile.
Your votes determine who becomes the 2012 Store Wars Champion. Voting ends at Midnight ET.
Store Wars FINAL: Banana Republic vs. Lands' End Canvas
- Banana Republic (52%, 1,006 Votes)
- Lands' End Canvas (48%, 961 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,953