NEW YORK — Some major out-of-town retailers may not be in a big hurry to strategize and complete plans for spring 2005 at this week’s market.

The reason: Tuesday is Election Day and a major concern is not being able to vote at a designated polling place, according to innerwear manufacturers, a majority of whom say many buyers and divisional merchandise managers are forgoing appointments until next week.

While market week traditionally is staged during the Election Day period, industry executives said this year is different because of the tight presidential race, the volatile political climate and the Iraq War. A few makers said they have heard concerns about being in New York because of possible terrorism.

Victor Lee, president of NAP Inc., said, “Actually, we are going to be very busy Nov. 8, 9 and 10, and I’m hearing from retailers the election is one of the reasons for that. It’s either because the retailers didn’t do their absentee ballots on time, or they’re going to stay home and vote and come the following week…this election has a lot more buildup than I can remember.”

Marcia Leeds, chief executive officer of Richard Leeds International, said, “A lot of retailers are coming in the week after market week. Maybe the election is a reason people are staying away, or it could be an excuse. However, I am hearing some people are afraid to come to New York the week of the election.”

The bulk of appointments for the second week of November were with major midtier stores, she said.

Howard Radziminsky, senior vice president of sales and merchandising at Movie Star Inc., said the official market week has expanded to two weeks over the past year, but he noted there is a “difference” this year.

“One major retailer told me they were forgoing their trip to New York during election week,’’ he said. “I don’t know if it was that they wanted everyone to vote or if it’s for security reasons, or both. Everybody has their own fears.”

Maurice Reznik, president of the Maidenform brand at Maidenform Inc., said one important midtier retailer had postponed its market week appointment until the week after the election. But he noted, “This is a big market for us, and we’ll have big introductions in every one of our brands, like Extreme Push by Maidenform, which gives a dramatic level of push-up cleavage.”

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