NEW YORK -- About 500 people turned out for the launch of Ralph Lauren's new line, Ralph, at Bloomingdale's flagship here last week.
They packed the aisle that runs down the center of the fourth-floor designer boutique area, spilling into the in-store shops and standing on tip-toe to see the runway show, which featured approximately 35 pieces from the spring Ralph collection. It was a buying crowd as well.
Frank Doroff, Bloomingdale's executive vice president and general merchandise manager, said that by 5 p.m. Thursday, sales were triple what they had been on the same day last year for Ralph Lauren merchandise. By the event's end -- when the store closed at 9 p.m. -- sales had reached five times last year's same-day sales. Store executives would not cite sales figures, though.
"I think what you're seeing here are Ralph's designer customers, but also women who may have never been Ralph Lauren customers before," said Stuart Kreisler, a consultant to Bidermann Industries for its Ralph Lauren Womenswear business.
The Ralph shop, which is part of the 5,200-square-foot Lauren shop on Boulevard Four in Bloomingdale's, had a mix of resort merchandise and the first spring delivery.
But the shoppers who swarmed it right after the show went for the three racks of spring merchandise they could special order.
The most popular item from the Ralph line was the black jersey slipdress at $335. The dress was a Bloomingdale's ad for the launch in the New York Times on Sunday, Feb. 13, with a white cotton tank underneath.
The wide-leg, black and white pinstripe trousers, displayed with suspenders that could be bought separately, was the second best-selling item, retailing for $250.
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