INTIMATE NOTES

VF EYES TOMMY: Ellen Rohde, president of the Vanity fair coalition at VF Corp., confirmed market reports that Vanity Fair was in talks with Tommy Hilfiger USA to produce a licensed line of women’s underwear and foundations bearing the Tommy Hilfiger name.
“Yes, we’ve met with them [Hilfiger officials]. It was like the first date,” said Rohde. She would not elaborate. Officials at Hilfiger could not be reached.
It is unclear what the status of the license is for Tommy Hilfiger women’s underwear. Jockey International has been producing the licensed men’s and boys’ underwear by Tommy Hilfiger since 1993. Jockey continues to say it has right of first refusal to do the women’s license, but will not say what the time limit is in its agreement with Hilfiger.
Industry sources said a deal between Nike and Vanity Fair is expected to be completed by early fall. As reported, the companies are discussing a collaboration that would produce a line of sports bras, bodywear and activewear. The collection will be unveiled in November, sources said.

MOVIE STAR BRIGHTENS: Movie Star Inc. cut its loss in the third quarter and increased profits 91.4 percent in the nine months ended March 31.
The intimate apparel producer’s loss in the period was cut to $123,000 from $329,000. Sales slipped 1.3 percent to $12.9 million from $13.1 million.
Intimate apparel sales dipped 0.4 percent to $11 million, and sales at its retail outlets slipped 0.8 percent to $1.9 million.
The bottom line was helped by an improvement in gross margins to 29.3 percent from 27 percent a year ago as a result of the continued shift of a significant portion of production to contractors based in Mexico, an improved product mix and fewer markdowns at its retail stores.
In the nine months, earnings rose to $1.7 million, or 12 cents a share, from $889,000, or 6 cents, a year ago. Sales advanced 5.7 percent to $50.9 million from $48.1 million; intimate apparel sales were up 7.4 percent to $42.6 million and retail sales were ahead 7.6 percent to $8.3 million.
Mark M. David, chairman and chief executive officer, said Movie Star’s balance sheet is “much improved, and combined with our revolving line of credit, should provide ample working capital for our anticipated growth.”
Movie Star makes women’s sleepwear, robes, panties and daywear, and operates 28 outlet stores.

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