LEG BEAT

BENARD ADDS SHEERS: Leg Resource has unveiled a collection of sheer pantyhose carrying its licensed Harve Benard label. Wholesale prices for the 10-piece collection range from $2 to $3.50. The line is aimed at department and specialty stores. This is the brand’s first line of sheers. First-year projected wholesale volume is $500,000, according to Wayne Letterman, president of Leg Resource, which already produces socks and tights under the Harve Benard label.

HOBBS RETURNS TO HANES: Debbie Hobbs has rejoined Hanes Hosiery as vice president and general manager of designer brands, a new post.
She is based in Hanes Hosiery’s New York office and reports to Cathy Volker, chief executive officer. She oversees marketing and international sales for licensed Donna Karan and DKNY legwear.
In December of 1995, Hobbs left the company as vice president of merchandising and has been out of the industry since then.

CHA PARLEY: How can small, entrepreneurial hosiery makers do business in a world of ever-larger and ever-fewer retailers? The key is developing a niche, according to participants at the recent Focus ’97, staged by the Carolina Hosiery Association in Hickory, N.C.
Determining a product area or marketing plan not already covered by the big national chains can offer a wide-open opportunity as well as challenge for small vendors, they said.
The two-day meeting drew over 250 hosiery producers, suppliers and retailers.
Dorothy Rainey, brand manager for J.C. Penney Co., one of several retailers addressing the parley, set the tone for other retailer panelists. Penney’s, she said, does not consider the size of a legwear maker to be as important as its EDI system, financial stability and quality standards.
“When you come to us, tell us exactly how you can fit into our program. What niche do you fill? Bring us your marketing plan,” Rainey said.
Karen Williams, merchandising manager of footwear products and hosiery for QVC, said her firm actively seeks small manufacturers.
However, various panelists noted that small firms cannot expect to sell products that are already available in major department and specialty stores. Finding the missing link can stem from analyzing what these big stores already offer, they said.

BIDERMANN FACILITATOR: Timothy R. Coleman, a managing director of the Blackstone Group, has been appointed reorganization-plan facilitator in the Bidermann Industries USA Inc. Chapter 11. Coleman also received the green light to hire Blackstone as his financial adviser in the Bidermann case.
Coleman’s responsibility is to evaluate the strategic alternatives available to Bidermann, valuate the company’s estate and review the reasonableness of the compensation paid to the employees of Alvarez & Marsal, the turnaround firm that has been running the firm. Bidermann, the maker of Arrow shirts and Gold Toe hosiery, has been in bankruptcy proceedings since July 1995.

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