By  on July 6, 2011

The $4.5 billion swimwear industry is set to kick off the cruise 2011 and spring 2012 seasons with a slew of new lines and collections at major swim shows in Miami, as well as at venues in New York and Las Vegas.

The tough economy didn’t seem to hamper U.S. sales of women’s swimwear, which increased 5.3 percent to $2.58 billion from May 2010 through April 2011, according to consumer research firm The NPD Group Inc. Specialty stores garnered the heftiest gain, 12.2 percent, followed by an 8.7 percent spike at mass merchants, while off-price and factory outlets scored a 4.9 percent gain. Sales at national chains and department stores grew 3.8 and 3.6 percent, respectively.

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