NEW YORK — Most people don’t like to anticipate the end of summer, but swimwear executives are ready to move on after a fairly challenging season and year.

For 2003, that means gearing up with swimsuits in brighter colors and printed styles, according to buyers and manufacturers at last week’s market. Despite this summer’s scorching temperatures in the Northeast, which should have lifted swimwear sales, executives were saddled by the sagging economy and pre-July 4 markdowns. So much so, that this year’s retail sales are expected to be flat with last year at $1.8 billion. But competition remains fierce.

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