GENERRA VENTURES BACK INTO JUNIORS

Byline: Karen Parr

NEW YORK — Generra wants to reclaim the junior market it once owned.
After testing different looks for the past couple of years, the Seattle sportswear company is making a concerted effort to get back to the junior market through its women’s and children’s Generra licensee, The Design & Source.
The plan is to roll out new junior collections every four to six weeks, beginning with a spring line wholesaling from $8.50 to $15.
Deliveries are set for Feb. 15 and Feb. 28. Mid-tier department stores are the target audience.
“In the heyday of Generra, it was a junior line, not a missy line,” said Pamela Grunder, president of The Design & Source.
“But today those customers are in their 30s and 40s,” she added. “So we’re reintroducing it to the junior customer because unless mother says something, the junior doesn’t remember it. She was too young.”
Recent inroads into juniors included the debut of Pleather by Generra and the sampling of some junior looks during the California market.
The largest group for spring is the new Stretch by Generra group, designed by Stephen Baum, who has been brought in by The Design & Source to oversee the design of the junior line.
Baum wants to move away from boxier T-shirt looks by offering the slim-fit Ts popular with junior customers.
For spring, Generra’s juniors offerings include short A-line skirts and matching tops, a tuxedo-style shirt, checkered prints in rose, lime and blue, and basic twills and shorts.
Baum commented that he is also revisiting some of the Generra logos from the archives and will rework them for T-shirts.
The new “Live for Life” slogan will be included on all junior hangtags under the name Generra.
In the Eighties, Generra was known as a trendy manufacturer of juniors and men’s wear, reportedly reaching approximately $175 million in annual wholesale volume during its height.
In July, Alan Bobin, president of Generra, told WWD the firm was nearing the $100 million mark in annual sales this year.
However, the company filed for Chapter 11 in 1992, following many department store consolidations and bankruptcies and its own overprojected growth.
Now Generra makes no apparel itself; it has become a licensor of the Generra name with 22 licenses.
Women’s apparel has recently accounted for much of the firm’s growth, according to Bobin, a trend he hopes will continue with juniors.
“The consumer acceptance of the name has always been strong,” he said. “Juniors can be an overnight success if positioned properly.”
Bobin projects that the junior line will bring in $5 to $10 million in its first year if consumers react to the combination of the Generra name and moderate prices.
Grunder thinks the major strategy will be keeping a ready supply of new fashion.
“The success of the old Generra was many fashion collections,” she said. “They would have small groups that came in every four to six weeks. We’re trying to resurrect that philosophy.”

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