NEW YORK — Foundations firms say that bigger bosoms will generate bigger bucks in 1995.
They are putting together more products that prop the bustline, cinch the waist and take care of just about any figure problem, from flabby tummies to sagging derrieres.
“Everything in the innerwear market is very vibrant right now, and we are into a good period of growth. Consumer confidence is good, and retail confidence is growing,” said Donald J. Franceschini, executive vice president and a director of Sara Lee Corp. “Our intimate apparel business is very strong, up 15 percent in the U.S. in 1994. Our volume is being driven by innovation, and…I am very optimistic about a robust marketplace continuing into 1995. We see it across the board, from hosiery to intimate apparel.”
Franceschini noted that the introduction of Wonderbra this spring by Sara Lee Foundations gave the company an “added edge.” “It’s been a very large success,” he said. He would not provide figures.
“Our corporate strategy worldwide is that innovation is the leader. We believe we need to support the innovation with creative advertising,” continued Franceschini. This year’s ad budget was increased 40 percent, a lot of it for the padded, push-up classification, and it will continue at that level for 1995.
Franceschini said there would be several product introductions in intimate apparel in 1995. Among the brands Sara Lee manufactures and markets in the U.S. are Playtex, Bali, Hanes Her Way and Just My Size.
Linda J. Wachner, president, chairman and chief executive officer of The Warnaco Group, said, “There’s a great demand for seamless bras and padded, push-up bras. I see good sales gains next year, and I think we are going to have a very strong six months.”
Wachner further noted that Warnaco would expand assortments of padded, push-up bras under the Warner’s and Olga labels, and the Not So Innocent Nudes by Warner’s, a line of lightweight, seamless bras and coordinating panties.
Karyl Chongas, vice president and general manager of the Vanity Fair brand at Vanity Fair Mills, noted that because of the success of the firm’s It Must be Magic cleavage-enhancing bra, there would be two more items for late spring: a sleekly tailored underwire bra of nylon satin that comes in eight colors, and a waist cincher with attached panty. Both items will be under the It Must be Magic label.
“We are looking for very healthy gains for the first half,” said Robert A. Brawer, president and ceo of Maidenform Inc.
Brawer attributed projected corporate sales gains of more than 10 percent to several factors: creating brands and programs best suited to different channels of distribution; strengthening inventory management, and “fully integrating a communications campaign” of national ads and point-of-sale materials.
“Our marketing has taken on a much more pragmatic caste,” said Brawer. “We are bending all of our energies in advertising and promotional dollars to enhance the brand to consumers.
“Value will be the name of the game, not lower pricing, but through a course of shrewd marketing and quality, which will create a perception that the consumer is getting value for her dollar,” he asserted. Examples of the strategy include gifts-with-purchase and sweepstake promotions, he said.
Brawer further noted that a secondary brand called Self Expressions for mass distribution would be a major contributor to next year’s gains.
“Multiple brands in our arsenal is one thing we can’t overlook,” he continued. “The key to success is tiering your brands.”
Richard Murray, president of Wacoal America, said, “We think we will be between 9 percent and 11 percent ahead in units for the first half. Wacoal had a very good second half this year.”
Murray noted that the bridge-priced line under the Parfage label was expected to generate unit increases of 30 percent the first half.
“Accounts are growing in established department and specialty doors for the Wacoal label,” he said, “and we are still in a growing mode, still securing additional distribution with Parfage.”
Murray added that the licensed Donna Karan Intimates line doubled unit sales this year. He attributed the gains to the opening of “Essential Shops,” at B and C doors of department stores, which generally do not feature Karan’s high-end merchandise.
“I’m in a big growing period right now,” said Nancy Ganz, owner of Bodyslimmers Inc., a shapewear firm. “Things are not so classified anymore, and buyers are much more broad-minded. I can now sell to sportswear and accessories buyers, especially through catalogs and TV shopping.”
Ganz noted that she expected to double her business again next year. She attributes the expected gains to the demand for more specialized control items for different problem areas such as the waist, tummy, derriere and thighs.
“It’s definitely the time for the body,” said Ganz, noting that she will expand fashion colors for fall 1995, as well as specialty items like sheer and matte mock turtle neck crop tops of nylon and Lycra spandex.