TREADING TO STAY AFLOAT
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
Speedo and Jantzen, two giants that have had a rough time in recent months, still topped this year’s list of the most recognized swimwear brands.
In June, the Warnaco Group, the company that holds the U.S. license for Speedo swimwear, filed Chapter 11. In November, the company canned its chairman and chief executive officer Linda Wachner without severance, leaving many wondering who will buy the ailing company.
Despite Warnaco’s woes, Speedo continued to woo customers with the introduction of an activewear line and an emphasis on recreational styles. Jantzen, meanwhile, is in the midst of being sold by VF Corp, which revealed plans last month to exit the swimwear business. VF is slashing 18 percent of its work force — and noted swimwear’s seasonal volatility as a stumbling block. In addition to its own line, Jantzen also produces Nike and Tommy Hilfiger swimwear.
Number three Catalina, fourth-place Anne Klein and number-five Body Glove maintained their positions. Ironically, Anne Cole, a $30 million operation, knocked Cole of California, the company her father founded in 1925, down two spots to number eight. Esther Williams, the label named after the Forties siren, came in at seven. Mossimo, sold exclusively at Target, also kept its place, number nine. At 10 was Hobie, known principally for its sailboats.
Swimwear Top 10
4. Anne Klein
5. Body Glove
6. Anne Cole
7. Esther Williams
8. Cole of California