By  on September 28, 2005

NEW YORK — Gant, the Swedish men's wear firm, is getting serious about women's wear.

The company, in business since 1949, has been selling its women's bridge sportswear line throughout Europe for almost three years. And last fall, Gant brought it to the U.S. market, selling the women's line in its U.S.-based company-owned stores in Bal Harbour, Fla., and two units in Manhattan. Now the company is ready for wholesale, said Ari Hoffman, chief executive officer of Gant USA Corp.

"We wanted to come up with the right product that fits today's women's lifestyle in the U.S.," said Hoffman, who joined the company from Lacoste, where he worked on the brand's relaunch in the U.S. "Now the mentality is to get it into some of the best U.S. specialty stores for the launch."

The line, which hits stores this spring, includes an array of cotton ribbed printed tanks, woven tops, cotton shorts, skirts and blazers. Hoffman calls it "modern prep," where each piece is meant to mix and match.

Accompanying the collection will be a line of accessories, including belts and handbags. Wholesaling from $27 to $145, Hoffman said he expects to be in about 125 specialty stores, including Nordstrom, for the first season.

That will be quite a push for the women's line in the U.S. The company brings in $600 million globally, with about $100 million from the women's line already sold overseas.

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