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Haggar Turns Focus to Women’s

The reinvention of Haggar is entering its second phase, and it revolves around the women's business.

NEW YORK — The reinvention of Haggar is entering its second phase, and it revolves around the women’s business.

The Dallas manufacturer has tapped Edward M. Jones 3rd as president and creative director of Haggar women’s wear. At the same time, David Yarbrough has been elevated to president of the company’s men’s wear division. Jones, who joined Haggar in April 2006 and most recently was chief merchandising officer, will oversee the design, merchandising and sales of all Haggar’s women’s business, which includes Rose Haggar and Multiples. Yarbrough will be responsible for the Haggar, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Kenneth Cole Unlisted and Claiborne men’s wear labels.

Both executives have long careers in the apparel industry. Yarbrough was previously with the Tropical Sportswear division of Perry Ellis International and, before that, with Haggar, where he held a top post in the private brand division. He was also with B.U.M. Equipment USA.

Prior to joining Haggar, Jones was chief executive officer and chairman of the board of GM Design Group Ltd. Prior to that, he held a top post at Sigrid Olsen, the women’s company. He was also involved with the Perry Ellis brand, as well as the Calvin Klein home collection, and owned his own consulting company, Jones Texas Inc., specializing in branding, product development and image consulting.

The appointments are designed to significantly grow Haggar’s women’s business, which currently represents some 12 percent to 15 percent of sales, according to Jim Lewis, president and ceo. “It could one day be bigger than men’s,” he said.

The women’s push will revolve around Multiples, a better label that Lewis said was sold in such retailers as Nordstrom, Dillard’s and Parisian, as well as Rose Haggar, a midtier collection that will be introduced this fall.

Since being acquired by Infinity Associates LLC and Perseus LLC (Hong Kong footwear manufacturer Symphony Holdings is also a partner) for $212 million on Nov. 1, 2005, Haggar has been hard at work trying to reinvigorate the company. Lewis said he and his team “spent the calendar year of 2006 reinventing the business,” which involved making a “significant investment in design, marketing, sourcing and sales.”

Initially, he noted, the company focused on the men’s business, a strategy that was now paying dividends. “We’re experiencing growth in men’s wear again,” Lewis said. “This is the first time in over 10 years.

“But we’re not done with this journey. We now need to realign for our next chapter and we’re excited about the women’s side of the business.”

Rose Haggar, which was named after founder J.M. Haggar’s wife, will be a complete collection, Lewis said, that will include a replenishment component. “We want to offer products that we can keep in retailers around the clock,” he said, “such as nice, tailored, black pants.” Lewis said that over 90 percent of Haggar’s men’s wear was replenishment business. “Once we’re in a store, there’s no company that can replenish like we do,” he said. “That’s this company’s core competency.”

Like its men’s wear, Rose Haggar will be targeted to Baby Boomers, one of the country’s largest demographic groups.