NEW YORK — Aris Isotoner reportedly is for sale.

“We are aware that there is a rumor going around,” said a spokeswoman for Sara Lee Corp., the Chicago-based parent company, “and we don’t respond to rumors.”

The firm, which makes Isotoner brand gloves and other accessories, has been part of Sara Lee since 1969.

David Bryan, president of Aris Isotoner, did not return calls to his office. But in an interview about six months ago, Bryan talked about the need to revitalize the brand and appeal to younger customers by positioning products as lifestyle-oriented as well as gift-giving oriented.

The company also makes slippers, socks and umbrellas. Its annual global wholesale volume is about $100 million, according to industry sources. The reports about Aris Isotoner come in the wake of Sara Lee’s announcement on June 6 of plans for a massive restructuring of its personal products business, of which Aris Isotoner is a part. That restructuring, as reported, will cut 8,000 to 9,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its worldwide work force. The Sara Lee spokeswoman pointed out, though, that cutback efforts have thus far been focused on the firm’s hosiery and fleecewear areas, and no announcements have been made yet regarding the accessories division.

Meanwhile, another Sara Lee accessories company, Coach, is moving ahead with plans for two more New York stores. Already announced is the 3,000-square-foot, two-level store set to open in the fall at 595 Madison Ave., at 57th Street.

The handbag firm already has two other stores on Madison, as well as one on Fifth Avenue and one at the South Street Seaport. Laurence Franklin, president of Coach, said a second downtown location, possibly at the World Trade Center, is under consideration. Franklin cited these plans at a breakfast presentation last week, promoting Coach’s American Legacy handbag collection that was being introduced for fall.

The collection is an outgrowth of the company’s ongoing advertising campaign, which features descendants of famous Americans. Last year, Coach customers were asked to write letters telling stories about their backgrounds.

Five of the respondents were chosen to come to Coach’s New York offices, where they were honored at the breakfast.

Each had one of the bags in the new collection named after her and was given a special certificate and a namesake bag.

The bags wholesale from about $85 to $127 and are being distributed to department and specialty stores. They will also be carried in Coach’s 78 full-price stores in the U.S.


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