Despite lingering doubts, sportswear and dress vendors are planning for growth.

A retail rebound and a recovering economy are helping to put sportswear and dress firms in a more optimistic mood, despite concerns about the impending election, ongoing war and a constant push to stand apart from the competition.

Vendors are making cautious growth plans by offering a broader assortment of products, including new styles and new categories, stepping up the fashion quotient with trendier collections to appeal to misses’ customers who crave a contemporary edge and revving up customer service with a diverse range of marketing tactics, such as colorful catalogue-style line sheets, Internet initiatives and intensified customer service programs.


Broader assortments are helping designers branch out and target specific customers. “You need a highly diverse product line to grow and focus on different niches within the company and fully service a diverse marketplace. We continue to grow the line each year with a collection that can dress a woman for work, a cruise or a New Year’s Eve party,” said Jeff Belluck, regional sales manager at Joseph Ribkoff, a Los Angeles-based dress and sportswear company that is planning sales volume gains of at least 10 percent in 2005. Wholesale prices range from $39 for a top to $160 for a three-piece dressy ensemble.

At Nina Austin, a formalwear company based in City of Industry, Calif., giving customers a choice is a key part of the growth strategy. “We’re offering a range of new styles for spring to appeal to a broader range of women, from age 20 to 55 and up. We believe in a diverse product range and catering to niche needs of women, from prom dresses to contemporary mother-of-the-bride,” said Sahar Rokhsar, principal. “We have at least five groups within each seasonal collection. It’s one of the ways we’re growing business.” Wholesale prices for the line range from $79 to $139.

At Von Saken, a Los Angeles-based sportswear firm, growth is all about giving customers a fresh crop of looks each season. “We’re always adding to the line, and for spring the newness includes more knits, including scarves, more cut-and-sew styles and adding accessories such as pendants to our sweaters,” said Joel Martinez, sales manager. “Newness is a way to excite buyers and bring energy to the collection.”

To Read the Full Article

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus