By  on February 10, 2006

NEW YORK — In the Eighties and Nineties, Caché Inc. was more about glitz than glamour, known for body-clinging dresses with keyhole openings and halter gowns designed for slinking into a room full of people and getting noticed.

Now that such flashy looks are mainly reserved for awards shows, Caché is toning down its act, developing its sportswear collection and adding classifications such as denim, T-shirts and wovens. And the company has reduced its eveningwear inventory.

"Caché built a brand niche known for special-occasion dressing," said Brian Woolf, chief executive officer. "For many years, we've been more than that. Our point of view has evolved to appeal to a modern, sophisticated customer. We drastically repositioned the company and our results have dramatically improved."

In the third quarter ended Oct. 1, Caché's sales rose 15.8 percent to $57.3 million and same-store sales increased 8 percent. Sales for the 39 weeks ending Oct. 1 jumped 10.9 percent to $187 million. For fiscal 2005, the company estimates sales of $270 million to $275 million. The company is overhauling retail stores, opening new units and has launched an ad campaign.

The change in direction was required because of the shift to a more casual lifestyle in most of the U.S., Woolf said. While "Desperate Housewives" types living in flashier zip codes may still pull out all the stops, most women want easy wardrobes built around jeans, skirts and tops.

"Our customers were starved for a fashion change," Woolf said.

But that doesn't mean the clothes should be boring. "There has to be detail on the garments," he said. "Lurex is important and so is embroidery and beading on jeans."

Shades such as chartreuse, saffron and turquoise are not unusual at Caché.

"Our girls aren't afraid of color," said Lisa A. Decker, vice president of marketing and visual merchandising. "Our customers take care of themselves. Overall, the clothing is designed to fit a woman. It's a generous cut. We go to size 14. Our sales associates are there to tell them the good, the bad and the ugly."

So far, Wall Street likes what it sees.

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