DALLAS — Laura San Remo, a better-priced knit sportswear label, is chasing younger customers with more trends and a marketing campaign that has spotlighted Miss America contestants.The $20 million brand is produced at the company’s knitting mills in Miami Lakes, Fla., and has more than 500 midtier department and specialty store accounts, including Dillard’s and Nordstrom. Laura San Remo is a division of Laura Knits, owned by Joseph Feurer.In a bid to attract a younger following, Laura San Remo this year began offering trendier styles. For spring these include: wider pants, crocheted sweaters, more fitted jackets and feminine trims such as ribbons, bows and embellishment. Wholesale prices range from $40 for a crocheted tank top to $150 for a short zip-front jacket.“We’re marketing the line to appeal to women ages 18 to 70,” said Harry Metrick, vice president and national sales manager, from the company’s showroom at FashionCenterDallas. “The infusion of fashion trends into the line is helping to push sales ahead by 15 to 20 percent this year. We’re also increasing trunk show business and this year dressed all 53 Miss America contestants when they toured Washington. We custom-knitted red, white or blue outfits for each contestant.”Metrick said associating Laura San Remo with the Miss America pageant was part of the company’s marketing tactic to gain younger customers and inspire younger women to check out the line at retail. ABC last week dropped the Miss America pageant, leaving it without a TV outlet for the first time in 50 years. Trunk shows have also helped the line to reach out to younger customers. “Women bring their daughters and sometimes granddaughters to the shows. We’re now doing up to 10 trunk shows per month,” said Metrick.It’s not unusual for the line to sell 300 pieces per trunk show, according to Metrick, who added that some of Laura San Remo’s retail accounts generate up to $100,000 annually in sales.Next year, the company hopes to expand internationally and is in talks to sell the line to retailers in Canada and England.— Rusty Williamson

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