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.A second value-priced group of basic daywear of mercerized cotton will be introduced in March. Wholesale prices haven't been set.
Basic Hanro daywear of mercerized cotton generally wholesales from $9 for panties to $24 for bodysuits. Underwire bras are $22. Wholesale prices for fashion daywear items start at $13 for panties and go to $65 for bodysuits. Sleepwear wholesales from $35 for a short gown to $80 for an embellished long gown.
Sachs noted that the firm's 1994 ad budget has grown to about $200,000, from $140,000 last year, and four more national ads will be featured in consumer magazines for a total of 10. The ads also are used in "look books," portfolios of Hanro styles that are shown for special orders and during trunk shows at stores.
She also plans to double the firm's staff of retail coordinators to 12 later this year, as the firm looks to add more doors. These coordinators assist in the stores, holding seminars for the sales staffs, handling trunk shows and working with personal shopping services.
Sachs added that the firm got good results from a sales contest tested at 13 specialty and department store doors last fall. Over a four-week period, sales associates who sold the most Hanro products received a wardrobe of Hanro innerwear; department managers exceeding their monthly sales plan by 10 percent also received Hanro products. In a drawing for sales associates, a gift basket of Swiss-made products was offered: chocolates, a Swatch watch, skin care by La Prairie, a Swiss Army knife and Hanro innerwear.
"It gave the sales associates an incentive to sell our products," said Sachs. "The contest went so well that we'll add a men's promotion this spring."
The men's gifts will include Davidoff, a fragrance licensed by Lancaster.
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