FINDINGS

TESTONI HITS FIFTH: Italian leather goods firm A. Testoni officially marked the opening of its New York flagship store at 665 Fifth Ave., near 53rd St., with a reception Oct. 13. Since its soft opening July 29, however, the store has become a seasoned performer. It has already had sell-outs in several categories, including women's calfskin handbags retailing from $800 to $1,200 and Testoni's signature tricolor Caribou collection of handbags, with retail prices that are roughly 10 percent higher than that, according to Luciano Moresco, president and chief executive officer of the firm's U.S. division.
"We had to pull merchandise from our other U.S. stores to replenish our stock," Moresco said. Testoni's other U.S. locations include Beverly Hills and Honolulu.
Overall, he said, sales have been better than expected, and August was a particularly strong month, although he declined to provide figures.
The 1,200-square-foot shop offers men's and women's shoes, leather goods, scarves, ties and some knitwear.

GLOVE CONNECTION: UIDC, Westminster, Md., a 34-year-old private label glove maker, is going into the branded market with a new division, Westminster Ltd.
Westminster will open its New York showroom at 417 Fifth Avenue in time for the upcoming accessories market week, Oct. 30-Nov. 4.
Westminster will be geared largely to department stores, and will offer styles in a variety of materials, including fabric, vinyls and leather and suede. Wholesale prices will range from $4 to $20, and first-year wholesale volume is projected at $3 million. All products will be made in China.
"We're looking to establish ourselves by doing a lot of custom work," said John Skuro, vice president of corporate affairs for Westminster. Skuro, along with Mike Klein, president, and Kip Pencheff, vice president of product development, had all been with the glove company Grandoe Corp. prior to joining Westminster. At Grandoe, Klein was a vice president and Skuro and Pencheff were account executives.

DIAMOND BIZ SPARKLES: For the diamond jewelry industry, 1993 ended up being a record year in the U.S., according to the findings of a recently released study. According to a National Family Opinion independent survey of U.S. consumers, which is commissioned annually by New York ad agency N.W. Ayer for its client De Beers, sales surged 7 percent from the year before to reach the $12 billion mark.
This is the third consecutive year of growth for the industry, and according to the survey, the gains have been the result of people buying more expensive pieces every year. The average purchase price rose 9 percent overall last year alone, although the survey didn't specify what this price was.
Also contributing to the accelerated growth was the increase in gift purchases, particularly husband-to-wife and anniversary gifts, which rose 6 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

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