NEW YORK — Swimwear manufacturer Apparel Ventures Inc. is preparing for a change in its branded lineup, with Nautica on the way out and Ralph Lauren, sources say, on its way in.

Some insiders are speculating that Apparel Ventures plans to pick up the Ralph Lauren swimwear license from Authentic Fitness when it expires June 30. Kathy Van Ness, president of Authentic Fitness’ designer swimwear, confirmed that the company will no longer produce Ralph Lauren swimwear as of July 1. She declined to say who would take over the license. A Ralph Lauren spokeswoman said only that the designer is under contract with Authentic through the end of June.

That speculation followed Nautica Enterprises’ Monday disclosure that it will terminate its swimwear license with Apparel Ventures as of June 30, 2003. The decision was a mutual one and will not affect production or distribution in the meantime, according to a statement released by the company.

Net royalties are expected to account for about 8 percent of the company’s projected net income for fiscal year 2003.

Christopher Heyn, president of Nautica Apparel, said, "As we continue to evolve, the Nautica brand swimwear concept and look for ways to extend it into other product categories, both companies have concluded that it is in their best interests to explore other opportunities."

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