By  on March 9, 1994

NEW YORK -- Noel Davidson, former chief executive officer of U.S. Shoe's Women's Apparel Retailing Group, is back in business with Bodytalk, a specialty shop for contemporary and coordinated sportswear.

The 2,700-square-foot unit, which opened on Friday, is at 125 Main St. in Westport, Conn. It's shooting for $2 million in first-year sales, said Davidson.

He noted that Bodytalk is situated on a "hot shopping strip" featuring J. Crew, Joan & David, Laura Ashley, Coach and Barneys New York, among other chains.

"It's a real upscale community of retailers," said Davidson.

The only other Bodytalk store, a 2,900-square-foot unit opened nine years ago by Davidson's wife, Marsha, is in Avon, Conn. They are partners in the new store.

Davidson said Bodytalk features sportswear, dresses, accessories and such brands as C.P. Shades, Joan Vass and Leon Max, among other vendors from New York and California. He said the assortment is weighted toward items, including tops and bottoms that coordinate. His target customers are primarily 25-to-45-year-old women interested in upscale contemporary and casual fashions.

In March 1993, Davidson was succeeded at U.S. Shoe by Michael Searles, though Davidson continues as a consultant to the company.

Under a non-compete clause in his agreement with U.S. Shoe, Davidson can open only two more Bodytalk shops through July 1, 1995. He said sites in Garden City, R.I.; Boston; Scarsdale and Albany, N.Y.; Cape Cod, and other resort areas are being considered.

At U.S. Shoe, Davidson oversaw such women's chains as Casual Corner, Petite Sophisticates and August Max.

"It's great to be on my own," he said Monday. "There's no red tape. You make all the decisions yourself."

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