By  on August 15, 2007

Dockers is teeing off in women's golf.

Buoyed by its success with its men's golf line and the increasing number of women playing the sport, Dockers is launching a moderate-priced technical golf line for spring.

"We saw a lot of fashion-driven spectator golf clothes, and then a lot of pure athleticwear," said Bridget Ryan, Dockers director of women's merchandising. "We wanted to do both — and at the best price point."

The line has two components: On the Green — a technical, sporty collection — and In the Clubhouse — a more traditional, preppy sportswear line, which also can be worn to play.

The Levi Strauss & Co. subsidiary, which has offered a men's golf collection for many years, designed the apparel based on requests from female golfers it interviewed, including deeper pockets to hold golf balls, longer tops that won't ride up when a woman leans over, back pockets modeled to fit scorecards and detachable golf markers. The line will also include gloves, visors, hats and socks.

"Retailers have a void in women's golf apparel — nowhere in our active and sportswear do we have women's golf," said Teresa Densley, divisional vice president of traditional misses' sportswear for Macy's Northwest, which also carries Liz Claiborne Golf and the retailer's private line Charter Club. "A lot of golf apparel can either be very functional or very traditional, but for a younger golfer, there is nothing in the department stores. As a golfer myself, I am very excited about the line."

The collection will be carried in about 500 doors for the first season, including Macy's. For the debut season, the company is only targeting vendors that already carry Dockers sportswear, but Ryan "eventually wants it to be carried wherever golf is sold." The line's accessibility both in terms of department store distribution and price point will be key to its success, said Ryan.

Tops wholesale from $12 to $23, and bottoms go for $18 to $27. The prices are higher than Dockers sportswear due to the technical details, noted Barb Gollert, the company's senior vice president of women's merchandising and design at Dockers.

Executives would not project sales volume, saying only that women's golf would be "a significant part of our business." Dockers hopes the line will attract not only existing brand customers, but also a new shopper.The launch comes at a time when Dockers women's sales are enjoying a second consecutive year of double-digit growth, and the women's business is growing to about a quarter of the brand's revenues. Fashion looks, which used to make up only 10 percent of sales and now contribute 70 percent, with replenishment pants making up the rest, are driving the growth.

"The golf launch is part of our commitment to grow the women's business," said Gollert.

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