By  on August 13, 2009

MONTREAL — Zellers has added a new weapon in its battle with Wal-Mart Canada with the introduction of its Pure Alfred Sung line targeting 35- to 44-year-old women.

The careerwear line is produced by the Mimran Group, which cofounded Club Monaco in 1985, where Alfred Sung was a designer. (Club Monaco was sold to Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1999.) Mimran Group and Alfred Sung also have developed home decor items for the Zellers’ parent, the department store chain Hudson’s Bay Co.

The Pure collection features argyle sweaters, bow-tie blouses, sleeveless turtlenecks, straight-leg pants, navy blazers and handbags.

The new Zellers unit in Toronto positions Pure in the highly visible center of the store and is a prototype for the 250 out of 280 Zellers stores across Canada that will carry the line. Apparel accounts for about $1.2 billion in annual sales at Zellers under different brands, with women’s wear generating about one-third of the total.

Zellers wants to boost overall sales by 25 percent to $4.6 billion within the next four years and apparel is a key component to that objective. Zellers has seen Wal-Mart Canada grow rapidly in the last decade and overtake it as the largest discount chain in the country.

“Pure is a very important part of our ladies’ wear strategy,” said Carrie Kirkman, general merchandise manager of ladies’ wear, accessories and jewelry. “It occupies key floor space in every door. It is displayed primarily by key item with more of a specialty store feeling. This brand is very edited and well focused. It offers polished casual and wear-to-work options.”

Plans are to expand Pure into accessories, jewelry, footwear, outerwear and lingerie in coming seasons.

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