JUNIOR BEAT

NO PHYS SCI: After just one season, Ecko Unlimited has decided to pull the plug on Physical Science, known also as Phys Sci, for women for fall.
“We tried it for a season, the reaction to it was positive, but we realized that we had a lot of problems with fits and execution. As a result, we weren’t able to honor the orders placed,” said Seth Gerszberg, president of Ecko Unlimited, which also has EckoRed, another line for women, sold under license with Trends.
According to Gerszberg, Phys Sci was shipped on a limited basis for spring. Plans are currently under way to relaunch the brand for spring 2002.
“We have plans to do it in-house, for now,” he said, while not ruling out the possibilities of working with a license.
In a somewhat unusual move, Gerszberg said he won’t discontinue Phys Sci’s advertising efforts.
“Out of our $1.3 million advertising budget for Phys Sci, junior’s advertising represents $400,000,” he said. “We will continue to run ads despite not having the product at retail. We will continue our momentum.”
Ads will continue to run in magazines such as Jane, YM, Flaunt, Paper, Vibe, The Source, Nylon and Spin.

PRETTY TIME: Pretty Talk Inc., a multilabel tops company, is getting into the junior business for fall, launching a sweater line under the Pretty Talk label.
“This is a very explosive market and a great opportunity for us,” said Stanley Kitman, president of Pretty Talk. “We think we can bring new things, such as new yarns, and different elements to the market.”
Its offerings include lightweight yarns, as well as stretch blends, such as an acrylic and spandex top. Among the silhouettes are tank tops, zip-up cardigans, turtlenecks and V-necks. Unlike many junior offerings, its products are somewhat form fitting, but not overly body conscious.
Wholesale prices range from $9 to $11, with production done in China and the Far East. The company is targeting moderate and better department stores, in addition to specialty chains, and also plans to make apparel under private labels. Kitman projects first-year sales of about $10 million for the new line.
The division is being headed up by Denny Heller, who was previously an executive at Jeri-Jo, the junior knitwear division of Norton McNaughton.
In addition, for fall, Pretty Talk’s Carlie’s Court division, a 14-year-old blouse line, will roll out a collection of moderate women’s sweaters. Kitman is targeting department stores, such as J.C. Penney and May Co.