Kohl's Corp.'s nationwide launch Sunday of its new Simply Vera Vera Wang line was low-key at best — although early sales are anything but.

The Menomonee Falls, Wisc.-based retailer ran ads for the collection in Vogue, In Style and Cosmopolitan, trumpeted Simply Vera on its Web site, hung banners over store entrances and received plenty of editorial play, but crowds never materialized.

The company actually put Simply Vera into stores early last week, which might have stolen some of the official launch's thunder. Sources close to the retailer said sales were trending four times ahead of expectations and added Simply Vera Vera Wang was selling five times better than Chaps, which Kohl's launched in 2005.

At a Kohl's location in the West Hills community of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, shoppers benefitted from a roll-out earlier in the week. The store prominently showcased the line, displaying the collection at the front of the store in the Misses section and gave it corner play with three mannequins wearing a purple scoopneck tank dress, a lavender beaded shell top and bubble skirt and a purple ruffle blouse and black ankle pants.

A sales associate said the collection was selling well, from blouses to coats. Smaller sizes were sold out in some styles, such as the long one-button, short-sleeve coat in ash and black; the white, button-down shirt, and long-sleeve, crewneck T-shirts in lavender, ash, white and black.

Because the store was in the midst of inventory week, "Do Not Inventory" signs were plastered on mannequins throughout the collection, prohibiting associates from selling items from the display. That left one customer who couldn't buy the long coat on the mannequin disgruntled and she left empty-handed. The sales associate said those items would be available Sept. 17.

A handful of customers stopped by the store to see the line. Diann Karnitsky, an advertising sales representative from the Lake Balboa, Calif., neighborhood, planned to try on at least half a dozen tops, including a white beaded shell blouse. But, she expressed concern about the fabrics and prices.

"Some of the fabrics seem a little cheesy and some of these pieces are high-priced for Kohl's," she said. "I like the long coat, but I don't know if I want to spend $128 on a coat at Kohl's when it may go on sale in one week."

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