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Kmart Launches Thre3 Line

Brand created by U.S. Polo Assoc., in time for the back-to-school selling season.

NEW YORK — Kmart is launching a new apparel brand, Thre3 by the U.S. Polo Assoc., in time for the back-to-school selling season. The collection for women, men, girls and boys consists of jeans, sweaters, rugby shirts, polo shirts, woven shirts, fleece, zip pocket hoodies, French terry blazers and twill trousers. Prices range from $9.99 for children’s graphic T-shirts and women’s tops to $24.99 for women’s signature boot-cut jeans.

This story first appeared in the August 17, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Jordache Ltd. is responsible for designing, manufacturing and other creative aspects of Thre3. The U.S. Polo Assoc. is a division of Jordache. Four deliveries a year are planned.

Thre3 apparel is preppy, designed with the elite sport’s classic iconography in mind. Long-sleeve red and navy polo shirts with white collars are decorated with small crests of a galloping horse framed by two polo sticks and a laurel wreath. Graphic T-shirts, meanwhile, have elaborate foil designs incorporating crests, crowns and botanicals with the words “American Tradition. Superior Quality.” For girls, there’s a navy blazer with white piping and crest and a navy hoodie with a pink, white and turquoise logo. The brand takes its name from the captain of a polo team, who always wears the jersey number three.

Thre3 seems to be taking a page from American Living, the collection sold at J.C. Penney designed by the Global Brand Concepts unit of Polo Ralph Lauren Inc., and Lauren’s Chaps, which is exclusive to Kohl’s. The Thre3 opening page on the Kmart Web site shows two neatly scrubbed men wearing khakis and jeans with polo shirts and two All-American women in twill pants with a polo and a woven blouse with ruffles. The Thre3 logo features an American flag and says, “Confident, iconic American style brought to you by the U.S. Polo Assoc.”

“Thre3 is very interesting because the Martha Stewart contract is up in January 2010,” said a Wall Street retail analyst, who requested anonymity. “It fills that void for a brand, although it’s not in the same merchandise category. We know that Chaps at Kohl’s and American Living at Penney’s have been very successful. That type of classic American look is very approachable and makes a lot of sense for a discount store.”