NEW YORK — New York & Co. is channeling the top-rated television show “Grey’s Anatomy” for its fall advertising campaign.

The retailer has hired Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, who play the on-again-off-again doctor lovers Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd, to bring attention to the brand.

“Whenever you do something like this, there’s an intention to bolster sales through awareness,” said Robert J. Luzzi, executive vice president and creative director of New York & Co.

The retailer’s customers follow the plotlines of prime time shows. “Our customer is very interested in TV, what’s going on and who’s hot,” Luzzi said. “Nothing’s hotter or steamier than ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and that’s why Ellen and Patrick were such a perfect fit.”

Luzzi declined to reveal the advertising budget, but said it is the most the company has ever spent on a season’s campaign. New York & Co. tapped “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria for its 2005 holiday advertising campaign, and Iman for spring-summer 2006.

Pompeo and Dempsey were photographed by Patrick Demarchelier on location in East Hampton, N.Y. The two are seen cavorting on a couch with Pompeo wearing the brand’s signature perfect fit pants and a range of tailored tops as well as several long-waisted sweaters.

The actors also may appear in New York & Co. stores, but nothing has been confirmed, Luzzi said.

Ads will run in the September issues of Cosmopolitan, Lucky, Glamour, Shop Etc., In Style, O: The Oprah Magazine, Self, Redbook and People.

The company on April 29 reported that same-store sales declined 9 percent in the first quarter. Analysts have suggested that the problem stemmed from product quality and assortment.

For the past few years, New York & Co. has been targeting women ages 25 to 45 — and annual household incomes of $40,000 to $75,000 — with trendy merchandise.

New York & Co. went public last October at $17 a share. The chain, which began operations in 1918 as Lerner New York, changed its name in 2000. Limited Brands Inc. owned the company from 1985 to 2002, when the chain was sold to Bear Stearns Merchant Capital II. Bear Stearns sold some of its shares in the IPO, but retained 75.8 percent of the retailer’s outstanding common stock, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

New York & Co. operated 534 stores as of May. The company, which plans to open 63 stores this year, is projecting sales of $1.2 billion for 2006.

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