PERIPHERY DOWNSIZES TO CUT COSTS

Byline: K.M.

NEW YORK — A victim of the shrinking retail market, Periphery Inc., a 25-year-old maker of loungewear, is downsizing its operation.
Michael Lewis, vice president of sales and marketing for the family-owned firm, said two major factors have affected the company’s business over the last year: fewer stores attending market week in New York, and the recent “hit of losing between $400,000 and $500,000 in business with the closing of I. Magnin stores.”
Lewis noted the firm’s sales volume this year will be $7 million, down approximately 20 percent from a year ago. Company debt, he said, was about $500,000.
The firm, which has its 12,000-square-foot showroom and offices at 135 Madison Ave., is seeking a smaller showroom space on Madison Avenue in time for the upcoming innerwear market to be held Jan. 9-13, he said.
“We spend about $400,000 a year on rent for the showroom, and we needed to cut our overhead,” said Lewis. He also noted that six of the firm’s 14 staff members were laid off last month.
He added that a design room will most likely be set up in New Jersey, where members of the Lewis family, along with the design staff, reside. The company continues to be headed by Donald Lewis; his wife, Judy, president, and their three children: Nancy, sales manager; Bob, treasurer and vice president of manufacturing, and Michael.
He noted that the firm is discussing possibilities of becoming a division of Carole Hochman Designs Inc. He said Periphery has a joint venture agreement to use Hochman’s distribution center. Periphery also contracts its manufacturing to SLT Inc., which has facilities in Mifflinburg, Pa.
Neal Hochman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Hochman firm, did not respond to requests for comment. But Carole Hochman, president and director of design at the Hochman company, said, “We’ve been friends with the Lewises for many years, and I’m sure we’ll do anything we can to help them.”

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