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Macy’s Expands Designer Swimwear

NEW YORK -- When a new and expanded swimwear department is unveiled at the Herald Square flagship of Macy's East next month, it will have twice the designer offerings of the current area.<BR><BR>Space in the sixth-floor department is being enlarged...

NEW YORK — When a new and expanded swimwear department is unveiled at the Herald Square flagship of Macy’s East next month, it will have twice the designer offerings of the current area.

Space in the sixth-floor department is being enlarged nearly 15 percent, from 10,500 square feet to 12,000 square feet. Anne Klein, Karla Colleta, Michael Kors and Robin Piccone will be added to the current Gottex, Anne Cole and Calvin Klein labels.

Most of the designer labels will be housed in 5,000 square feet, while a separate shop of 600 square feet will be given to Calvin Klein. The remainder of the space will be for non-designer branded lines and coverups.

Macy’s decided to go in a designer direction with the department because that is where the business was happening, said Benny Lin, the store’s fashion director.

“We had a tremendous sell-through with designer and contemporary suits in early cruise and resort,” he said. “So we are going after this aggressively for spring and summer. The floor will be even more productive with higher-ticket price points.

“The customer is really responding to fashion swimwear. They are not as price-sensitive as before. They are willing to pay the price to find the perfect bathing suit.

“This is the first time Macy’s has gone for a whole new emphasis on designer swimwear,” said Lin. To underscore the seriousness of this venture, Macy’s is putting out a splashy new ad campaign.

The campaign, shot in Miami by the husband-and-wife photography team known as Guzman, includes eight pages in color in next week’s travel issue of New York magazine. The ad spotlights model Eva Herzigova in suits and coverups by Gottex, Anne Cole, Calvin Klein, Robin Piccone, La Blanca, Swim Systems, Baja Blue and Speedo’s 1996 Olympic racing suit. The store also plans full-page ads in the Sunday New York Times and mailers to preferred customers.

Trade sources say the new push aims to increase sales by 60 percent.

The merchandise mix in the department will be 55 percent designer and contemporary swimsuits; it was 25 percent. Other branded swimwear will take 30 percent, and related coverups, 15 percent.

The whole department will be redesigned with new furniture, neon signs and poster-sized blowups of the ad campaign.

The store will kick off the revamped department on May 2 with a cocktail party and fashion show, with several of the designers, including Michael Kors, Anne Cole, Karla Coletta and Robin Piccone, expected to make appearances.