DENIM DISH

STEEL HERE: Danny Lee, president of the Los Angeles denim company Steel Jeans, said he's heard the persistent rumors that his six-year-old company is going under but said that it isn't true.
Lee admitted there's been some trouble with cash flow recently, following an aggressive expansion that included two new showrooms, a new 120,000-square-foot headquarters and a $3 million ad campaign.
"Financially, we've been in arrears with some of our people for the last couple of months, and business was not what we expected it to be," said Lee. But, he added, he's finishing up a deal that will make Steel a vertical company and after that "we expect to expand very aggressively." He noted that he was planning his spring advertising buys as usual.
Lee said his partner in the deal is in "the piece goods and textile" business, but declined to name the company.

FROM GLORY TO CHIC: Kikomo, a New York manufacturer, has signed a license to produce woven denim-friendly tops under the Chic label.
The line will ship for next spring.
It's part of a merchandising strategy to take the Kikomo label out of the mass market and trade it up to moderate department stores. Chic, also based in New York, is a mass market denim brand.
Items will wholesale for $6 to $9, said Ravid Kamon, division head for the Chic license at Kikomo, and the line will be "core items that are more missy-driven."
This is Kikomo's only current license. It had held a license for woven tops with Faded Glory, which, as reported, is becoming a mass resource.
Robert Luehrs, president of Chic, said he expected the line to do $10 million to $12 million its first year.

GENERRA JUNIORS COMES TO NEW YORK: The Generra Co., the Seattle licensed casual sportswear company, has established a New York presence for its Juniors label. The line is now in the ZAP showroom at 80 West 40th St.
The Juniors label was launched this year as a licensed brand of Generra. The line initially is concentrating on denim categories such as jeans, shorts and jackets with coordinating knit tops, with wholesale prices around $15. The ZAP showroom is operated by Larry Zarsky and Alan Pfeifer.

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