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Dohler has big plans for the U.S.

Heath E. Combs, Michele SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, February 23, 2004

Dohler has been busy formulating a strategic plan for expanding its exports to the United States, currently 30 percent of its overseas business, and doubling capacity by 2010. Phase one of the strategy kicked off in January with the opening of a New York showroom at 261 Fifth Ave. for North American clients.

"Opening the showroom in 2004 is part of Dohler's strategic plan of securing and increasing our market share in home textiles in the USA for the upcoming years," said company president Udo Dohler.

As the company expects competition from the Far East to heat up next year, it would like to be prepared from a logistics point of view. Initially, the showroom will be used during market weeks and for appointments throughout the year.

Dohler's primary focus will be on increasing its towel exports to the U.S. market in the medium to upper distribution tier, even though the company sells to all segments of the market. It will be coming to the spring market with a whole new line of towels. The company will also bring its beach towels to customers here as part of this new strategy.

In addition, Dohler is evaluating whether it will get involved in the flannel and/or upholstery businesses, currently part of its product portfolio in South America.

According to Dohler's president, the company has invested heavily in machinery over the last few years that "will allow us to bring new innovative bath product lines to the (U.S.) marketplace."

Dohler's yarn-dyed capacity is being increased and new finishing equipment has been installed, enabling production of the high-quality bath ensembles.

The company also hired Liz Sharp about five months ago as a new towel designer. Sharp previously worked for Teka and is based in Fort Lauderdale.