COTTON KNITS GROW AT HOCHMAN

Byline: K.M.

NEW YORK--Looking to make a bigger score in cotton knits, Carole Hochman Designs Inc. will be introducing a separate line of updated robes under the Carole Hochman Knits label this week.
First-year sales for the new line are projected at $5 million, said Carole Hochman, president and director of design.
Distribution is aimed at robe departments in specialty and department stores. Wholesale prices start at $18 and go to $26.
The firm has seen growing business with cotton knits since it introduced a line of cotton knit sleepwear and coordinating printed and solid robes bearing the Carole Hochman Knits label in August 1992. The success of the line, geared to sleepwear departments, motivated the firm to move cotton knits into its other sleepwear lines--the licensed Christian Dior label, Carole Hochman, Carole Hochman Knits, Sara Beth and private label.
Neal Hochman, chairman and chief executive officer, said the cotton knit classification now accounts for 50 percent of total company business, up from 30 percent a year ago. The classification has also been an important factor in the 24.8 percent overall sales gain the firm is seeing this year, he said.
Regarding the new robe line, Carole Hochman noted, "The handle on this is it's group-oriented. We haven't taken a print and done five pieces that all look alike. Each robe will have a different print or trim, but they all can be merchandised together, and each delivery every three weeks will be color-coordinated."
Kathleen Weir, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the company, noted that the strong sales of the coordinating robes within the sleepwear line led to the introduction of the separate robe line. It will feature textured solids, floral prints, stripes and gingham checks.

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