By  on January 27, 1994

NEW YORK -- With new management and ownership, Hanro USA, a luxury lingerie resource, is out to put more muscle into its business.

The firm, the U.S. marketing and sales arm of Hanro AG, Liestal, Switzerland, is adding electronic data interchange and bar-coding to its operations, value-price merchandise to its line and money to its ad budget.

Late last year, as reported, U.S. innerwear makers Mickey and Harriet Levenson sold their 50 percent interest in Hanro USA to Hubert Tricot Group, based in Gotzis, Austria, the parent company of Hanro in Switzerland. The transaction gave Hubert complete ownership of the American firm.

At the same time, Niki Kalish Sachs, who had been executive vice president of Hanro USA, moved up to become its president and chief executive officer. Mickey Levenson had been president.

For the current year, Sachs said she is projecting an overall sales gain of 5 percent. While she wouldn't cite actual volume, the firm, according to industry estimates, had sales of $7 million in 1993.

Hanro's business is split three ways: daywear, men's and women's sleepwear and men's underwear. The sleepwear and the men's underwear were introduced in the U.S. only two years ago. Hanro daywear has been sold here since 1980, when the U.S. division was set up. Hanro has been a maker of underwear and sleepwear in Europe since 1886.

The EDI is now being implemented by the U.S. company at its offices at 40 East 34th St. here and is expected to be completed by June. It will provide a firmer hand in guiding Hanro's business through the stores.

"We'll stop being fortune tellers," said Sachs. "We will be able to make sure our department store and major specialty store accounts have the right goods and aren't out of stock."

The firm's first value-price group of basic cotton and Lycra spandex daywear was introduced at this month's innerwear market. Styles include a crop top, underwire bras, bodysuits and three styles of panties -- a thong-back style, a hipster and a bikini.

Colors include black, white, champagne and nude. Wholesale prices start at $7.50 for thong-back panties and go to $17 for underwire bras and $19 for bodysuits.

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