DENIM DISH

LEE’S HOT LOOK
Lee Jeans has put some flirt into its spring ad campaign. The jeanswear manufacturer and its ad agency, Fallon, McElligott, have created a print campaign that combines some Vargas girl glamour with tongue-in-cheek humor.
The ads show women in Lee jeans against solid color backgrounds, with provocative slogans like “From across the room, he won’t be able to tell you have a great sense of humor,” and “He said the first thing he noticed was your great personality. He lied.”
The campaign will break in May magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, In Style, Ladies’ Home Journal, Mademoiselle, Marie Claire, New Woman, Parents, Redbook, Us and Vogue. It will run through the fall.
Lee has not had a print ad campaign for about three years. While the company declined to reveal its budget for the campaign, it spent $9.4 million on TV advertising in 1995, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
In other Lee news, the brand has gone back into Dillards after an absence of about three years, said a spokeswoman for VF Corp., which owns Lee. It will ship junior and misses’ jeanswear to “most of Dillards’ stores” for the 1996 back-to-school season.
Dillards did not return calls for comment.

VF’S PAYDAY
While his incentive bonus was cut by 60 percent in 1995, Lawrence R. Pugh, chairman of VF Corp., more than made up for it by realizing $4.03 million through the exercise of stock options last year.
Bonuses for most of VF’s top management shrank last year because the company did not reach targeted earnings goals, according to VF’s just-released proxy statement. Bigger bonuses in 1994 reflected record results that year for the apparel manufacturing giant.
Pugh and other executives, however, offset lower bonuses by cashing in on stock options, while others were awarded big salary hikes through promotions.
Besides Pugh, executives cashing in on options last year included Gerry G. Johnson, vice president of finance and chief financial officer, realizing $1.06 million from the sale of 54,000 shares, and John P. Schamberger, vice president and chairman of VF’s jeanswear coalition, who collected $215,850 from the sale of 19,000 shares. Pugh sold 165,000 shares.
Pugh’s total employment compensation for 1995 was reduced 30.3 percent to $1.31 million from $1.88 million in 1994. His base salary increased to $790,000 from $760,000, but his bonus eroded to $400,000 from $1 million. VF’s incentive bonus is tied to earnings performance goals set at the start of each year. The company’s 1995 earnings tumbled 42.7 percent to $157.3 million, or $2.41 a share, after a $156 million charge to cover 14 plant closings, business realignments and inventory adjustments. The restructuring affected 7,800 employees, or about 12 percent of its work force. Resultant cost savings are expected to reach $80 million annually.
Pugh, who was chief executive officer until the end of 1995, was also paid $118,458 in other personal benefits for each year, including $73,000 for aircraft transportation.
President Mackey J. McDonald, who added the ceo title on Jan. 1, earned $895,000 in 1995 against $1.56 million, a 42.6 percent decline. McDonald’s bonus shrank to $350,000 from $700,000, and his 1994 pay included an award of 5,000 restricted shares valued at $270,607 at yearend.
Schamberger, meanwhile, received a 39.2 percent raise to $765,704 from $550,000, reflecting his promotion in February 1995 to chairman of the firm’s jeanswear coalition. He had previously been president of VF’s Wrangler jeanswear business. His base salary increased to $359,333 from $270,000. His bonus dipped slightly to $256,000 from $280,000, but he received $150,371 in other annual compensation, of which $120,541 represented relocation expenses.
Daniel G. MacFarlan, who was promoted in February to vice president and chairman of the decorated knitwear coalition, received a 53 percent pay hike in 1995 to $516,250 from $337,310. His base salary rose to $316,250 from $187,310 and his bonus increased to $200,000 from $150,000.
Johnson’s compensation slipped to $466,000 from $683,000, reflecting a reduction in bonus to $110,000 from $340,000.
VF continued its policy of giving stock options to employees “to instill an entrepreneurial spirit in the corporation,” the proxy said. The company granted options to 617 management-level employees in 1995 versus 610 in 1994.
At the top level, Pugh and McDonald were each granted 70,000 stock options; Schamberger, 22,000; MacFarlan, 17,000, and Johnson, 15,000. The options are exercisable at $52 a share. Shares of VF, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed Wednesday at 58 3/8, down 1/2.
VF’s annual meeting is scheduled for April 16 at the Sheraton Berkshire, Wyomissing, Pa.

THE NAME GAME
Private label and brands are coexisting profitably at Sears, Roebuck.
That’s the word from Meg Rist, vice president and general merchandise manager for men’s apparel at Sears Merchandising Group. During a talk to the Jeanswear Communications group in New York March 20, Rist said Sears’ Canyon River Blues collection, introduced last year, has not cut into branded jeanswear sales.
“We’ve had tremendous success with Canyon River Blues,” Rist said. “The number we projected for first-year sales, we hit after five months. And we didn’t do it at the expense of national brands. It is incremental growth. We’re also planning increases for Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler in 1996.”
As reported, sales of Canyon River Blues topped $100 million in five months.
Sears has been building its denim department for a few years, said Rist, going about it by investing in inventory, forging strong partnerships with vendors and developing an up-to-date electronic data interchange program.
“Being in-stock helps make the jeans business pay off,” Rist noted.
She added that a strong denim bottoms business also helps boost sales of related products.
“We also make money on tops, belts and jackets,” she said.
In addition, Sears is investing in presentation.
“The company is spending $4 billion to remodel stores,” Rist said. “And the men’s store is spending $6.5 million over a three-year period in denim. Our vendors are helping fund that.”
Rist also believes there will be no denim slump as long as manufacturers continue to come up with “fabric innovations and exciting and new products.”

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