BALI STUDIO SHOPS SHUTTERED

Byline: K.M.

NEW YORK — Two Bali Studio stores, opened this spring in New Jersey by Sara Lee Intimates, have closed.
The 2,300-square-foot units were one opened in March at the Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, and another opened in April at The Mall at Short Hills, Short Hills.
The idea behind the retail venture, said Sara Lee executives at the time the stores opened, was to offer a full-price retailing environment to strengthen the brand identity of its foundations, which include Playtex and Bali, and to test the expansion of its labels into new areas such as sleepwear and robes. The studio shops also were set up to obtain merchandising and consumer trend information that would help other Sara Lee retail operations, such as Coach stores.
Despite the push on service and full-price merchandise, Lee A. Chaden, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Intimates, said the studio shops were “not financially successful.”
“We created it as a retail laboratory to test new techniques and products, and showcase our broad range of products at full price,” said Chaden. “It did look great, and consumers liked it very much.
“But you could also find our products in a promotional environment at stores. We learned a lot,” he continued. “Full price represents a challenge if you are in a promotional category….I’m not sure we brought something different to consumers.”
Each of the two Bali Studio units merchandised 12,000 items, counting colors and sizes. The full-service ambience featured bra fitters as well as a sales staff in a spa-like setting of blond wood floors and fixtures.
Chaden said Sara Lee’s retail venture had caused “very little friction” with retailers who sell intimate apparel by Sara Lee.
“We simply decided to concentrate our efforts on our retail partners,” Chaden said.

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