LEGGS AND NO NONSENSE GET INTIMATE

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — A battle is brewing between two hosiery megabrands in the intimate apparel field: L’eggs and No Nonsense.
Each brand — among the best known legwear labels in the U.S. — is aiming its sights at discounters and food and drug chains.
The 30-year-old L’eggs name, which is owned by Sara Lee Corp., generates annual revenues of around $388 million and 27-year-old No Nonsense does $240 million. No Nonsense is owned by Golden Lady SpA, a company based in Castiglione della Stiviere, Italy, and Kayser-Roth Corp. manages the No Nonsense business in the U.S.
No Nonsense will begin distribution of daywear and bras to 100 doors of mass merchants and food and drug chains this month, and will expand distribution to another 100 to 200 doors by mid-June. L’eggs began rolling out a line of panties in April to a select number of food and drug chains, and will broaden distribution to 4,000 doors by June. L’eggs plans to introduce more product categories for discounters in spring 2001.
Sara Lee is producing L’eggs Intimates in-house, while New York Phenomenon Ltd., part of NewCo Holdings, is the manufacturing and marketing licensee for No Nonsense Intimates.
Asked about the upcoming horse race, John T. Marsh, director of marketing and sourcing new business development at Sara Lee’s branded apparel division, said, “They licensed out No Nonsense. We decided to keep it in-house because we want to keep control of the product.” He would not elaborate.
“But we’ve been working on this project for a good year, and we feel the quality of our product is excellent,” said Sheree Severini, director of sales and marketing for No Nonsense Intimates.
Intimate apparel rang up sales of $11.8 billion last year. According to the 1999 Strategic Market Report by Fairchild Strategic Information Services, discounters are the largest distribution channel in intimate apparel, accounting for $3.1 billion of the $11.1 billion intimates business at retail in 1998.
Sixty percent of discounter sales are in nationally branded products. From 1998 to 1999, bras accounted for 41 percent of overall sales at mass merchants and panties generated 22 percent.
L’eggs Intimates offers one high-cut panty silhouette in two fabric blends — a brief in stretch satin nylon and Lycra spandex, available in white, black and melon; and a brief in cotton and Lycra, in white, black and chambray. Suggested retail for either style is $2.99.
“Intimates was the first logical step for L’eggs, and panties is where we are going first,” said Marsh, noting that the panties will be merchandised in an oval-shaped package with an egg-shaped product window that “reflects the heritage of L’eggs.”
Brad Beach, director of merchandising for L’eggs Products, said special features included a “no-line” leg for a smoother look underneath clothes.
“L’eggs is all about fit and a close-to-the-body statement,” Beach said.
“The products have stretch, not an oversized fit, and are not like granny pants. We’ll probably do bras and tops and eventually go into seamless because it’s a natural extension of hosiery.”
No Nonsense will offer four styles: a seamless soft-cup bra, a camisole, a full brief, a high-cut brief and a bikini in two fabric blends — Micromattique and Lycra, and cotton and Lycra. Colors will be white, ivory and black. Suggested retail for the panties will be $2.99 and $3.99; for the bra, $4.99 and $5.99, and for the cami, $6.99 and $7.99.
Severini said the packaging for No Nonsense Intimates would be “feminine and unique,” clear plastic packaging for in-line displays with a handle to hang on display pegs.
Roseann Beutell, an intimate apparel manager of Micromattique and Lycra at DuPont, said, “We are extremely excited to be included in this new program. Our DuPont brands, coupled with the No Nonsense name, offer exceptional purchase confidence to women who demand high quality in their clothes.”