NEW YORK -- With a spate of acquisitions complete, Paxar, the label maker located in Pearl River, N.Y., has its sights set on increasing its international growth.

"In 1987 we had a single product line," said Arthur Herschaft, chief executive officer. "It was then that we decided that the only way to compete in the future was to manufacture a complete line of labeling products -- everything a garment manufacturer needs to form identifications for apparel."

Paxar first acquired a printed-label business in 1988. In 1991, Paxar purchased National Tag, a bar-code tag printer; by 1992, the company had added American Silk Label, a maker of woven labels, to its stable.

"Now that we've done something about supplying all products needed for labeling to the apparel industry," said Herschaft, "we recognize that the apparel industry is global."

According to Herschaft, 25 percent of the company's sales come from overseas markets. The company manufactures labels in Europe and Asia and owns distribution centers in 40 countries in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Last year, Paxar opened distributorships and subsidiaries in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

"We essentially took a mom and pop business and put a whole new spin on it," said Herschaft. "It's global, and it's not given to any one single product."

What's driving the labeling business at present is bar coding, said Herschaft. "It's a new area of our business, but one that we see continuing to grow. We also see growth for printed labels, and multilingual labeling is picking up steam. We definitely see this as a growth market.

"In addition, we see ourselves in the service business. The apparel industry, as a whole, has come to the conclusion that it wants fewer sources of supply.

"And technology is important, too." Herschaft mentioned Paxar's work for Levi Strauss, for which it made a new chemical formulation for tags so inks didn't wash out in modern washing procedures, as an example.

Though the apparel industry continues to plug along a sluggish growth course, Herschaft is planning for sales increases of around 15 percent in 1994."There are big changes taking place in the apparel business right now. Mass merchandisers are realizing that apparel can be profitable. And in order to do a good job, they have to have their labeling coordinated.

"That's one of the driving forces in the apparel business. If you can control distribution, you have a real shot at gaining market share."

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