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A Comforting Debut at Haggar

DALLAS — Haggar Clothing Co. is launching a women’s pants collection for spring that combines comfort with style through a proprietary design process it calls "Comfort Fit."<br><br>The line is angling for first-year wholesale volume of...

DALLAS — Haggar Clothing Co. is launching a women’s pants collection for spring that combines comfort with style through a proprietary design process it calls “Comfort Fit.”

The line is angling for first-year wholesale volume of $5.5 million, given current market conditions. Describing the special construction, Haggar said, “Elastic panels in the same fabric and color of the pants are discreetly sewn into each side of the waistbands. The invisible panels expand and contract in response to changes in the wearer’s body.”

The Comfort Fit construction was first unveiled by Haggar last spring in a men’s pants collection and has been a big hit. The new women’s line is targeted at mid-tier department stores such as J.C. Penney Co., which has already placed orders.

“We expect our Comfort Fit pants to be very popular among women who are looking for contemporary styles that have added comfort,” said Ed Vierling, president of Jerell Ltd., a division of Haggar Clothing Co. that designs and produces Haggar’s women’s apparel.

“The pants move with the body, giving the customer up to an extra inch and a half of comfort around the waist when needed. Invisible comfort is the key. Women don’t want to broadcast that they’re wearing something especially for comfort. They want to look good first.”

The spring collection includes nine pants silhouettes, including capris and flat-front or pleated classic trousers. Wholesale prices are $39 for cotton khaki pants to $46 for polyester and rayon pleated trousers. Colors include navy, black, taupe, olive and khaki, and there are also trend-based stripes and patterns. Sizes are 4 to 18 in average or short lengths.

Haggar Clothing Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Haggar Corp., a marketer of men’s and women’s apparel that generated $444.6 million in revenues in fiscal 2001, 2.7 percent above the prior year. Restructuring costs of $20.2 million during the year resulted in an $8.7 million net loss for the year. In the most recent quarter ended June 30, Haggar’s sales rose 2.8 percent to $111.2 million as net income fell to $460,000.