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Warnaco Names Intimate Execs

Warnaco named two key executive posts in its intimate apparel unit and has embarked on a line of high-tech performance underwear.

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Intimates is one of the key apparel categories Gromek is keen on improving. Sales in the intimate apparel division fell to $573 million last year from $614 million in 2002. Among the initiatives the company has recently undertaken are launching Lejaby Rose, a secondary foundations label with a young, feminine look, and the licensed JLo Lingerie by Jennifer Lopez collection of updated, girly lingerie.

McCluskey has been challenged with the repositioning of Warner’s two mature brands, Olga and Warner’s, which in fiscal 2003 generated $180 million in combined wholesale revenues, down from $250 million the prior year

These two appointments follow the departure of Jeanette Cantone from Warnaco, where she was vice president of merchandising for the JLo Lingerie by Jennifer Lopez and Olga brands for the past year. On Monday, Cantone was named senior vice president of Lingerie Projects for Limited Design Services, a unit of Limited Brands. In her new post, Cantone will manage the design, merchandising and manufacturing of lingerie lines such as Pink and the Victoria’s Secret Casual Sleepwear collection. She reports to Wendi Goldman, executive vice president of design. A successor has not been named at Warnaco.

In other developments, Warnaco plans to embark on an ambitious new line of business by incorporating the high-tech performance applications of the Fastskin FSII swimwear by Speedo into a line of underwear for men and women.

Olympic gold medal champion Michael Phelps, who signed an endorsement contract with Speedo last year, is being considered as the model for Warnaco’s multimillion dollar marketing and advertising campaign for the state-of-the-art underwear collection, said McCluskey. The Fastskin by Speedo underwear will be targeted to major department stores as well as sporting goods outlets nationwide, and could be cross-marketed with the Fastskin FSII by Speedo swimwear, which is part of Warnaco’s Swimwear Division.

“We are looking to build on the technology and performance of Speedo swimwear and translate that to men’s and women’s underwear,” said McCluskey. She said the new underwear would focus on three areas: High performance, active athlete and active-inspired lifestyle items in “exciting fabrics.” The Fastskin men’s line will be be shipped to stores in late May, and the women’s underwear will be launched next fall.
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