NEW YORK — Blair Corp., the Warren, Pa.-based direct marketer, has created a wholesale division called Allegheny Trail Corp., which will offer apparel basics at low prices to outdoor sporting goods and recreational retailers.

In its announcement Tuesday on the new venture, Blair, a direct marketer of apparel and home products, said it will wholesale men’s and women’s polos, tank tops, cargo pants and fleece tops beginning next month for the spring 2004 season. Sportswear, outerwear and equipment will be added this fall.

Dick Holcombe was appointed general manager of Allegheny Trail. Previously, Holcombe was the chief marketing officer and head merchant of A.J. Prindle and Co. Prior to that, he spent 27 years with Woolrich in a variety of posts, among them vice president of marketing and vice president of sales operations for its wholesale business. Holcombe is also a former president of The Outdoor Industry Association.

“Allegheny Trail will allow the outdoor retailer to have a quality line of apparel, at very competitive price points and good margins,” Holcombe said in a statement. “Now retailers can compete with national chain labels like American Eagle, the Gap or Old Navy, as well as some of the current outdoor brands in the market.”

For last year, Blair reported earnings of $9.3 million on sales of $568.5 million.

Blair also made some changes to its board, among them naming Cynthia A. Fields as a director on Tuesday. Fields is a former president and chief executive of Victoria’s Secret Catalog, and is currently president of CFC, her own catalog-retail consulting business.

In April, Craig Johnson was appointed chairman of the board. Previously, he was a director on the board, and is a former managing director and partner in Glenthorne Capital in Philadelphia. Also, Michael A. Shuler, president and chief executive officer of Donerail Investments Ltd., was named to the board.

Blair Corp. is just the latest of several apparel firms that recently decided to enter into wholesaling. Earlier this year, Delia’s Corp. entered into a licensing agreement with JLP Daisy LLC, an affiliate of Schottenstein Stores Corp., and Mothers Work, the Philadelphia-based maternity retailer, is working with The Joester Loria Group, a licensing and marketing agency. Mothers Work plans to extend the brand beyond apparel and also launch another smaller brand, Motherhood Baby, to offer other categories relating to babies.

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