By  on February 3, 1994

NEW YORK -- U.S. machinery makers and distributors are generally upbeat about their prospects for 1994.

The apparel industry is by no means in a period of robust growth, they report. But there are bright spots, most notably interest in new equipment for Computer Aided Design and wrinkle-resistant apparel.

"We believe it's going to be a tremendously successful year for us," said Jay Wilster, president, Sussman Automatic, Long Island City, N.Y. "The reason is that we're right smack in the middle of the wrinkle-resistant business, which is explosive at present."

Though Sussman's sales are primarily going to the U.S., overseas sales have landed everywhere from Thailand to the Dominican Republic.

Wilster said he expects business in the U.S. to remain robust. "The excitement in the manufacturing market here is a derivative of the excitement that's being generated by the retail market. Wrinkle-resistance is now being pushed by the marketers of the industry, which bodes well.

"Now, with the introduction of the process into shirts, there is a great need for pressing equipment, as well as curing ovens. For the first time in years, pressing departments are receiving the kind of attention cutting and sewing rooms have had."

David Bacharach, president of Apparel Machinery & Supply Co., Philadelphia, Pa., also anticipates a good year for wrinkle-resistant cotton apparel. "There's been a real holdback in the garment industry over the last few years. But the wrinkle resistance has created a whole new need for capital equipment. Our feeling is that we'll have a very good year."

Another area that looks good for machinery sales is embroidery. "We see the need for enhanced apparel as very strong for 1994, and we're anticipating an increase over 1993 in that segment of our business," said Jerry Lee, vice-president/ general manager for Macpherson, Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

"With the World Cup soccer this summer and the Olympics in 1996, we believe the need for embroidered products will remain strong for the next couple of years."

CAD suppliers also expect a good year. "We're starting out with expectations that this will be one of the better years in recent history," said Rick Ludolph, marketing manager for Lectra USA, Atlanta, Ga.

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