NEW YORK — Another big brand is returning to Macy’s East.
Starting today, all 59 units of Macy’s East will be carrying a complete lineup of products by Playtex Apparel Inc., a division of Sara Lee Intimates.
The move back to Macy’s began five weeks ago, when two of Playtex’s items — Playtex Secrets bodyshapers and Thank Goodness It Fits bras for small-busted sizes — started being sold at 40 Macy’s East units.
Up until 1984, Macy’s had carried Playtex’s long-established Eighteen Hour and Cross Your Heart bra brands. Later, the retailer picked up again on Playtex with three of its lines, although none carried the Playtex name. They were Wow, a line of underwire bras; Body Views, a line of updated bras and panties, and a licensed line of bras and panties under the Cacharel label. All these lines, though, were eventually phased out, and Macy’s and Playtex parted ways in 1991.
Lee Chaden, chief executive officer of Sara Lee Intimates, said television advertising and a national print campaign have considerably udated the Playtex image since 1991, when Sara Lee Corp. acquired Playtex. The ad budget this year is $20 million, compared with about $8 million in 1991, he said.
“Ten years ago, we did $6 million with Macy’s,” said Chaden. “By today’s standards with inflation, that business would be between $10 million and $12 million. We think we can easily beat that.”
Beryl Raff, senior vice president of Macy’s East for intimate apparel and fine and bridge jewelry, declined to discuss figures, but said that the Playtex offerings have been getting “an immediate response from customers.”
She noted the addition of Playtex will mean additional business. “We just won’t be trading dollars,” she said.
Chaden said that new products such as the Eighteen Hour Comfort Strap bra and Playtex Secrets will build Playtex business at Macy’s in the future.
Other Playtex brands to be distributed to Macy’s East are Support Can Be Beautiful, Cross Your Heart and Eighteen Hour. The Playtex Nursing Bra will also be merchandised.
The Playtex comeback at Macy’s follows the return of some major apparel brands to the store. Macy’s began carrying Levi Strauss again last year, after dropping the brand in 1982, when it began selling to Sears, Roebuck and J.C. Penney. Similarly, Haggar men’s wear came back last year as well, The line was dropped in the mid-Eighties when Macy’s began putting a heavy emphasis on private label.