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NATIONAL SWIMWEAR MONTH: To excite consumers about shopping for swimsuits, the Swimwear Manufacturers' Association and DuPont will launch the first annual National Swimwear Month in April.
"We want to be consumer-driven," said Howie Greller, president-elect of SWIM and executive vice president of Beach Patrol Inc., who is spearheading the campaign. "People are chronic complainers about the pain of buying a swimsuit. We also want to motivate them to go out and buy earlier in the season."
The $180,000 promotion is built around Cathy, the comic strip character created by Cathy Guisewite. Point-of-sale materials will be available free to retailers, including posters and banners featuring Cathy and her search for the ideal swimsuit. Retailers can also buy a Swimsuit Survival Calendar at 85 cents each, to be offered to consumers free with purchase. The calendar, which will run from April to March, will offer such tips on how to find the best-fitting suit. All material will carry a logo of a woman in a swimsuit.
Greller said that he is sending out information kits to about 2,500 retailers. So far, Macy's West and Rich's have committed to distributing the calendars, he said. Vendors are expected to participate with retailers for in-store events. SWIM and DuPont have also produced a three-part video series, featuring model Lucky Vanous, known for his Diet Coke commercials. The video, which offers trend forecasts, is being aired this month on local TV stations throughout the country.

WONDERBRA SPLASH: Wonderbra Swimwear made its entrance into New York Tuesday on three models in a 35-foot racing boat that pulled into the dock of The Water Club on Manhattan's East River.
According to officials at Sara Lee Foundations, maker of Wonderbra, the padded push-up has become the number-one-selling bra in the U.S. since its introduction here in May 1994.
The push-up swimwear of nylon and Lycra spandex is comprised of two styles: a one-piece maillot and a bikini. Each style has a scalloped neckline and features a built-in bra that enhances cleavage.
Suggested retail for the maillot is $70; the bikini is $60.

COMANECI DOES DANSKIN: Nadia Comaneci, five-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, has signed a multiyear agreement with Danskin Inc. to endorse bodywear, legwear and athletic footwear under the Danskin name.
Mary Ann Domuracki, president of Danskin, said Comaneci will be a "fine addition to our Team Danskin family of athletes."

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