An uptick in Americans’ vacation travel has been good for the swim and resortwear business.

Coming off a strong fall selling season, resort and swimwear companies from Warnaco and XOXO to Michael Simon and flip-flops maker Havaianas maintain bright outlooks for the upcoming resort and spring seasons. Companies said that despite the war, the upcoming presidential election and concerns relating to the euro, consumers are traveling and buying vacation clothing. Indeed, 68 percent of United States adults traveled for business or pleasure last year, according to the Travel Industry Association of America, which also expects leisure travel to grow by 3 to 4 percent this summer.

Manufacturers expect this positive momentum to continue and are upbeat about their prospects.

“We feel extremely optimistic about the 2005 season,” said Lana Todorovich, vice president of branded sales at Warnaco Swimwear, which includes Anne Cole, Anne Cole Locker, Nautica, Choice Calvin Klein, Cole of California and the newly launched Anne Cole Studio. Next July, the company also plans to launch Michael Kors for the 2006 cruise season.

“There are two reasons for our optimism: We are coming off a successful season, and our retail performance is strong. The number one retailing style in the country was the Anne Cole dot camikini. It was a top performer the minute we shipped it in November, and we continued shipping it through June.”

HIGH HOPES

Banking on the success of the camikini, Todorovich said the company will feature similar styles at Anne Cole for 2005. “We’re coming off a very big success,” she added. “On the NPD report, we had six out of 10 top-performing styles for spring ’04, and that’s current retail sales.”

A second priority at Warnaco, Todorovich said, is to work on managing each brand and to maintain focus and differentiation between diverse product categories.

“We are a diversified company, and I like to think of us as a swimwear mutual fund,” she said. “We were top-performing last year because of the talented and innovative people working at the company and our business strategies. I believe we’re ready and poised for growth.”

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