At the May accessories market, the New York firm introduced a line of earmuffs and scarves that can be heated. Each item contains a pocket with a removable pouch that can be warmed in a microwave oven. With the heated pouch in place, the earmuffs stay warm for up to one hour, the scarf for up to two. The company is also making hand warmers, bread baskets and seat pads that work in a similar manner.
Howard Eisenberg, president of Dearfoams, projected a first-year wholesale volume of $20 million for the line, and said the company is working on heatable gloves, vests and shoe inserts.To launch the line at retail, Eisenberg said Dearfoams is working with retailers to develop accessories department concept shops called Hot Spots.
BULGARI’S LONE STAR DEBUT: Bulgari Corp. of America will break into the Texas market with a Houston unit in late July.
The 550-square-foot boutique, which will be in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, is projected to do $2 million in first-year sales. It will be the eighth U.S. store for the Rome-based fine jeweler. According to Arrigo Berni, general manager for Bulgari Corp., the company is also scouting other store sites. Dallas is under consideration. Berni said there are others, but declined to identify them.
MADE IN THE SHADE: Sunglass specialty stores grabbed the biggest single share of retail sunglass sales in 1993, according to a recent report from the Sunglass Association of America.
Of the $1.9 billion total that the SAA said consumers spent on sunglasses, about $380 million was spent in stores such as Sunglass Hut, one of the biggest sunglass specialty store chains in the world. According to Richard Enholm, chairman of the SAA’s statistical committee, this amount is 10 to 15 percent higher than it was in 1992.
Of the remaining volume, four retail categories — department stores, optical retailers, drug stores and mass merchandisers — were responsible for about $285 million each. The rest of the purchasing was done through a variety of channels, including sporting goods stores, convenience and grocery stores, wholesale clubs, catalogs and TV infomercials.
Information for the report, which the SAA publishes annually, was based on industry surveys of retailers and manufacturers as well as U.S. trade data.