Buyers coming to New York this week will be greeted by striking ILGWU workers, who are walking the picket lines in front of 1400 Broadway and 1412 Broadway, where The Leslie Fay Cos. has its offices and sample rooms.

The union struck Leslie Fay facilities in five states on Wednesday after rejecting the company's contract offer. On Tuesday, the union had come to terms with the rest of the industry on a new three-year contract. The ILGWU and Leslie Fay, however, reached an impasse over the company's proposal to close its domestic production plants in Pennsylvania.

The company said it needs to turn to importing in order to be more competitive. The firm has been operating in Chapter 11 since April 1993, following disclosure two months earlier that accounting irregularities had falsely stated losses as profits. The ILGWU claims the company wants to bust the union, and is using the end of the contract as a smokescreen to divert attention from the firm's financial problems.

Both sides are preparing for a long strike.

As part of its continued expansion, Nicole Miller has enlarged its showroom, bringing nearly all its products under one roof, and has added a leather ready-to-wear and sportswear collection and a children's line.

The firm's showroom at 525 Seventh Ave., New York, has doubled its size to about 3,000 square feet, with an enlarged selling space on the 20th floor, and taking over the 19th floor, said company president Bud Konheim. All in-house and licensed lines will be housed in the new showroom, with the exception of the licensed men's and children's lines. The concept, Konheim said, is to create the feeling of the firm's 24 boutiques, where all Miller's product lines -- which often have similar design schemes -- can complement each other.

Konheim said based on strong early reaction to fall and early holiday bookings, the leather line can generate about $1.5 million in sales this year. Miller will exceed $50 million in volume for the first time this year, including royalties and sales of merchandise to its own stores.

Nicole Miller Leathers, licensed to MP Triumph Inc., features leather and suede outerwear, vests, dresses, pants and skirts, wholesaling for $80 to $750. The line will be produced at MP Triumph's factory at 247 West 38th St., according to Buddy Mateo, a partner in the firm with Arnold Cohen.The children's line consists of girl's and boy's apparel featuring Miller's signature prints.

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