Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — The Weekend Exercise Co. wants to stretch out the weekend with a new label called Weekend by Marika.
Aimed at department and specialty store chains, the 30-piece line is expected to generate at least $3 million in wholesale volume in 1998, said Michael Levinson, president. The company’s current annual volume is $35 million, only even with last year, because some retailers dropped activewear from their mix, Levinson added.
Made primarily of cotton and nylon, the Weekend by Marika line features relaxed looks appropriate for spectators or fitness enthusiasts, he said. Wholesale prices range from $9 for a ribbed T-shirt to $24 for a long-sleeved mock top.
The San Diego company also produces lines labeled Marika (basic activewear), Marika SP (performance-oriented looks) and Baryshnikov (dancewear).
“For 10 years, we’ve been working to cover the full spectrum in activewear,” Levinson said. “The new line is for department stores that want to have an athletic or activewear area.”
To highlight its new look, the company is providing more point-of-purchase material.
For spring, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, an advertising agency here that developed the company’s first $1 million TV campaign last year, has produced quirky hangtags, a look book and display fixtures with images from Marika’s new print campaign.
The look book — unusual for the activewear market — includes black and white photographs of 40 items. Consumers can use the book to order sizes, colors or styles that might not be available at a particular store. Knowing most stores have limited floor space for activewear, Levinson said, “We’re offering them a customized business.”
The fact that women who place special orders will have to return to their respective stores to pick the items up should encourage multiple activewear sales, Levinson added.
Hangtags offer unexpected copy treatments. One for a bra top reads, “Pull a muscle. Tear a ligament. Throw your back out. At least your breasts will be well supported.”
In December, The Weekend Exercise Co. plans to install display fixtures in 100 doors. Imprinted with “Essential Equipment by Marika,” the fixtures are designed to showcase key items for specific activities. In the next three years, the company aims to have the fixtures in 2,000 stores, Levinson said.
Retailers who place an order of at least $1,750 will receive a complimentary fixture. The company has invested on average of $850 on each of the fixtures, which are 46 inches by 50 inches, Levinson said.
Three sides of the fixture will display images from the company’s print ads. Graphics are slated to be changed every six to nine months, Levinson said.

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