SACHS RETIRES: Around 75 retailers and innerwear executives turned out at a cocktail party at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan last week to bid farewell to Niki Sachs, Hanro USA’s president and ceo for the last 20 years. Several executives called her the “doyenne of mercerized cotton” underwear.

Lothar Peters, general manager of Hanro of Switzerland and chairman of the business luxury unit of Austrian-based parent Huber Holding, said Sachs continues as honorary chairman and as a member of the board.

Among the retailers who spoke about Sachs’ accomplishments were Barbara Lipton, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel and hosiery at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Ann Cox, daywear and underwear buyer at Neiman Marcus.

Cindy Kelly, who succeeds Sachs as president, said: “Niki knows and understands the [innerwear] business and what drives the retail business. It has been an absolute pleasure working with her.”

SARA LEE REVAMP: In a further move to restructure its innerwear operations, the Playtex Apparel Inc. division of Sara Lee Intimate Apparel will relocate its Stamford, Conn., headquarters to Winston-Salem, N.C., by May 1. Sara Lee will also consolidate its New York design studios and sales showrooms of the Playtex, Bali and Liberty Fabrics units into one location in the New York area.

The transition to Winston-Salem will eliminate some 50 jobs in Stamford, but the company plans to create 40 new positions in marketing, forecasting, replenishment and various administrative areas to support the Playtex business at the new location, said a spokeswoman. Positions in finance and human resources will not be replaced. There will be no layoffs at the New York studios and offices, she said, but there will be a cost savings on rents and operations.

Additionally, Sara Lee said it will close two Playtex packaging and distribution centers in Dover, Del., consolidating those functions with Bali operations at a two-year-old plant at Kings Mountain, N.C. The Dover closure, which will affect 385 employees, will be completed by Dec. 31. The company expects to add 250 jobs at Kings Mountain to process the extra volume.

“We will provide out-placement facilities, as well as severance packages, and will contact other companies to set up job interviews with companies that match employee skills and opportunities. A Wal-Mart distribution center is slated to open in Dover in 2003, and 600 positions are expected to be open,” said the spokeswoman. “It is our hope that by Dec. 31, every single employee who has not retired will be employed.”

Charles Nesbit, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Intimate Apparel, said in a statement: “The restructuring was a tough business decision, but we are convinced these actions will make all of our brands even stronger participants in a highly competitive and challenging market.”

BFIA CLOSES: After 89 years in business, Body Fashions and Intimate Apparel magazine is being discontinued by parent corporation Advanstar Communications, said Joyce Ann Cooney, editor in chief of the the monthly trade publication.

“Our last issue was December. We had put together our January publication, but it won’t be coming out,” said Cooney.

In late 2001, several staff members were laid off.

Reached at Advanstar’s Boston headquarters, Michelle Mitchell, corporate marketing manager, said: “We decided to discontinue BFIA because it served too narrow a niche in the fashion apparel industry.”

In addition to owning a stable of trade shows, Advanstar still maintains a number of trade publications, including American Salon, American Spa and Travel Agent.

FEMMY HONOREES: The 2002 Femmy Awards gala is scheduled for March 5 at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

“This will be the first time that the innerwear industry’s largest annual event will feature an all-women lineup of honorees,” said a spokeswoman for the Underfashion Club, the event’s sponsor.

Honorees will include Barbara Lipton, vice president and dmm of intimate apparel and hosiery at Saks Fifth Avenue; Josie Natori, ceo of Natori Co., and Rita Mazzella, a longtime intimate apparel fit model, who will receive a lifetime achievement award.

The evening will also be dedicated to the late Jan Law, a longtime buyer at Saks, who died last year.