RALPH LINE GETS BOOST FOR SPRING

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK--Hot Sox Co. has expansive plans for its licensed Ralph by Ralph Lauren legwear line.
The line is designed to coordinate with the designer's younger and less expensive sportswear collection that had its debut for spring 1994 retailing and has been scoring a fast success.
The Ralph legwear was introduced for fall with a 12-piece collection. The number of styles is being doubled, and volume for the spring season should hit at least $1 million, four times the take for fall, according to Jill Bleifer, sales manager for Polo Ralph Lauren hosiery at Hot Sox.
With styles available in up to 14 colors, the spring line will wholesale from $4 to $8. Made primarily of pima cotton and nylon, knee-highs, thigh-highs and trouser socks in stripes, gingham and florals will be key items, according to Gary Wolkowitz, president and chief executive officer of Hot Sox. "This is a young spirited line. When we introduced the line for fall, thigh-highs and over-the-knees really took off," he said. Having held the license for Ralph Lauren hosiery for the past 14 years, Wolkowitz said the Ralph line should enhance business.
"The Ralph line should not diffuse our customer base at all," he said. "We wanted to address the entire world that Ralph designs his clothes for."
At the Ralph Lauren flagship store, here, more than 550 units of Ralph socks and tights have been sold during the past month, according to Chelsea Polack, accessories specialist at the store. Fifty percent of the customers buy Ralph legwear to coordinate with the Ralph sportswear, she said.
"The other half buys the tights and thigh-highs to wear with a plain black dress or skirt from last year," she said.
In the months ahead, Ralph sales should hit a level comparable to Ralph Lauren hosiery sales at the department store division of Dayton Hudson, according to Karen Failes-Coade, buyer. The new collection is more updated--not as traditional, she said. The Dayton Hudson stores are just now receiving shipments, she noted.
"I think it will do very well. It's an enhancement to the Ralph Lauren line," she said. "It has a younger attitude and prices are a little sharper."

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