fashion-features
fashion-features

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH...

MODERATE VENDORS ARE MAKING THE MOST OF IT BY TEMPTING CUSTOMERS WITH LOWER PRICES AND MOVING INTO UNEXPLORED MARKETS.

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But he was quick to add that better deals would not lead to a drop in service. "We're trying to work on keeping the accounts we have and servicing them. We're calling up and seeing our clients and sending them catalogs," he said.

Although Sportswear Group LLC is already mainly known for its contemporary line, which is sold under the On Fire label and geared toward a youthful clientele, Isaac Toussie, president of the $40 million vendor, said that he plans to focus even more aggressively on the still-untapped younger segment of the market.

"There's been a [steering] away from a younger clientele today," he said. "There's a lack of exposure in that area that could be very much improved."

In order to bring in that younger buyer, Sportswear Group, which also produces a career line under the Sherry Taylor name, will launch a new knitwear line called 2 B U. The line will wholesale from $8 to $15 and will offer trendy, novelty items aimed at customers who are "super-conscious about fashion trends."

Toussie hopes to boost the company's volume by 18 percent this year with $2 million to $3 million worth of business coming from the 2 B U launch.

Allure Inc. hopes to double its $12 million business this year by expanding into two new areas: suits and eveningwear, both slated to bow in the fall.

Julia Klyashtorny, president of the five-year-old resource, said that she is aiming for a modest 200-door debut to test out the new lines, with business drawn from the same customer base that she currently resources.

The new lines will be similar in style to the novelty decorated jackets that make up the bulk of her current sales. Suits will wholesale for $39 to $59, and eveningwear, from $29 to $59.

Besides launching two new collections, Klyashtorny said that the biggest challenge for the year will be to maintain margins.

"With the retail business being as tough as it is, we might need to compromise on margins as we grow volume," she said. "We cannot control markdowns and the retail climate."

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