ROCKPORT TO TEST APPAREL

NEW YORK — Rockport, a division of Reebok International, will test women’s athletic sportswear in its stores next spring.
The 40-piece line will be shipped to the company’s 11 freestanding stores in the U.S. and 30 others overseas at the end of January.
“We decided to test it where we already have a captive audience,” said Joseph Hiese, president of Rockport apparel. “We think there is a void in the market for [athletic-inspired] women’s apparel with any sense of style or sexiness.”
For fall 2000, Rockport plans to roll out an 80-piece collection in 100 doors, Hiese said.
T-shirts with drawstring waistbands, hooded tops, boatneck shirts, a stretch skirt with a side slit, a sleeveless zip-front dress and pants that can be zippered off at the knees to convert into shorts are among the offerings for spring.
Not wanting to offer another line made of “rigid cotton,” Rockport has made the line with such stretch fabrics as cotton, nylon and Lycra spandex blends, Hiese said. Wholesale prices range from $9.50 for a fitted T-shirt to $57 for a jacket that converts into a vest.
The collection is aimed at women between the ages of 30 and 40 who participate in yoga and other low-impact activities, Hiese said. It is also designed to complement the brand’s footwear, which is outdoors-oriented.
Rockport’s women’s apparel will be introduced here at the company’s new showroom when it opens at 1410 Broadway on Dec. 20.

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