January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Banana Peels Away "Bananers"

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Banana Republic has launched the latest version of its BananaRepublic.com website, which recreates the "relaxed" atmosphere of the company's stores and catalog and does not include promotional banners, pop-ups, commercial links and "clutter" that are common on the web, it says.
     The site will offer an extensive product assortment similar to that available in the stores and the catalog, including men's and women's apparel, shoes, accessories, personal care, intimate apparel and the home collection. The visual and functional axis of the site is a four-squared icon. Square are marked "W" for women's products, "M" for men's, "G" for gifts and "H" for home.
     Customer can choose how they want to shop, says the San Francisco-based retailer: by look if they want to find out about the brand's point of view on what's hot for the season; by personal style if they like to mix and match items to create their own looks; or by category if they know which particular item they're looking for. Web shoppers, like catalog shoppers, can have online purchases altered-often for free-in any Banana Republic store, it says, and items purchased on the website or the catalog can be returned or exchanged at any store.
     The site provides a range of additional online shopping features, including holiday gift reminders, gift suggestions, product care information, enlarged color swatches and fit comparisons. The site will also offer high-resolution images and detailed closeup graphics that the company says require short download times.

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