A knit wrap from Inhabit.

DALLAS — Inhabit, a better-priced knitwear collection with contemporary styling, is expanding for spring by lowering prices and reaching out to a wider range of stores and customers.<BR><BR>“We’re lowering our opening price points to...

DALLAS — Inhabit, a better-priced knitwear collection with contemporary styling, is expanding for spring by lowering prices and reaching out to a wider range of stores and customers.

“We’re lowering our opening price points to appeal to a less pricy tier of specialty stores,” said Stacey Perlick, vice president of sales. “Our focus since we opened two years ago has always been about quality and fashion sensibility at reasonable prices, and now we’re taking that view to more stores while also building our existing accounts. We’re also launching a small men’s wear line for fall 2005.”

The approach is expected to push sales to $4 million in 2005, compared with this year’s $3 million. Perlick helped launch Inhabit in 2002 along with Susie Cho, designer and creative director, and Vivian Koo, vice president. The company is owned by a silent Hong Kong investment company.

Inhabit now sells to about 150 edgier specialty stores such as Henri Bendel in New York, Fred Segal Trend in Los Angeles and Butch Blum in Seattle. Sales are up 50 percent over 2002, thanks in part to a hefty reorder business and a focus on trend-inspired items such as bomber jackets, trenchcoats, capelets, kimono sweaters and tunic vests.

For spring, opening wholesale prices have fallen about 20 percent and start at $40 to $45 for an 18-gauge cotton knit T-shirt, with average wholesale prices of around $70 for a 7- or 12-gauge cashmere, cotton, silk or viscose sweater. Top wholesale prices are about $180 for an embellished jacket with embroidery, crystals or beading.

Inhabit also is offering a more diverse range of colors and silhouettes, some of which have been loosened up with more open necklines, to appeal to a broader customer base.

Colors in the 60-piece collection include tropical and fruit tones, such as mandarin orange, yellow, green, pink, red and teal, rendered in a mélange of knits that include silk, viscose, cotton and linen blends. Most of the styles are produced in Asia.

— Rusty Williamson

This story first appeared in the September 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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