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Yanuk Focusing on Moderate

After a short-lived run in the premium segment, Yanuk is reducing its prices and refocusing efforts on gaining a foothold in the moderate market.

LOS ANGELES — After a short-lived run in the premium segment, Yanuk is reducing its prices and refocusing efforts on gaining a foothold in the moderate market.

Yanuk has halved prices for the back-to-school season, with denim wholesaling for $40 to $50. The move puts the brand's retail prices in the $88 to $115 range, a segment already dominated by brands such as Mavi, Lucky Jeans, Guess and Buffalo Jeans. The brand has also added denim alternatives like wide-leg corduroy pants that wholesale for $44, as well as tops ranging from $31 tunics in stretch jersey trimmed with satin to $44 nylon bombers.

Glenn Palmer, chief executive officer of parent company Blue Holdings Inc., said the goal is to appeal to a broader customer base and capture what he believes are the open-to-buy dollars available in the moderate market. Even so, the midprice tier is growing increasingly crowded with refugees from the competitive premium denim industry, including Blue Cult and Tylerskye. New labels such as City of Others and Frankie B. Originals, an offshoot of high-end line Frankie B., also aim to win over young, more budget-conscious shoppers.

Palmer said he is targeting "an aspirational customer who wants to dress in fashion and look put together but can't necessarily afford premium denim."

Blue Holdings is taking extreme measures to bolster its business as revenue has plummeted. Palmer, who specialized in corporate turnarounds as ceo of Rafaella Apparel Group and Amerex Group Inc., joined Blue Holdings in July with a mandate to cut costs, reevaluate brands and increase sales to department stores. Two months later, the company announced plans to abandon the underperforming Life & Death brand, close two stores and reduce its workforce by about 25 percent, or 35 employees.

In addition to Yanuk, which was started in 2002, Blue Holdings owns the Antik Denim and Taverniti So Jeans labels. It also holds the license to produce and sell hoodies, T-shirts, sweats and hats for the French brand Faith Connexion in North America, South America, Japan and South Korea.

In the nine months ended Sept. 30, Blue Holdings posted a net loss of $3.8 million on revenue of $26.3 million. In the same period a year earlier, it reported net income of $2 million on revenue of $41.6 million.
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