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Scala shifts focus back to luxury

Marvin Lazaro, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, November 26, 2001

NEW YORK – After more than seven years of attempting to appeal to a broad range of retail customers, Scala International Inc. has refined its focus on serving retailers that provide higher-quality goods at value prices and on making products that fit the American market.

The shift back to what was the company's original mission began during the months leading up to the fall market and culminated with a presentation of goods that centered on fabrics that were blends of mainly natural fibers. From silks in all different kinds of constructions to high-thread-count cottons and linen, Scala unveiled a wide range of sheets, top-of-bed, table linens and decorative pillows all designed with the American lifestyle and market in mind.

"Our focus is basically going to be on luxury, but that doesn't mean it's high-priced," said Chip Scala, president. "We see that market as having a niche for us.

"Certain companies have to find their way and I think that's where we're going to be."

Queen sheet sets in the new natural fabric constructions will start at a $149 retail price point, depending on the construction. Window panels will start at $29, also depending on the construction.

Scala said his company had tried to be too many things for too many people in the last few years, which many companies are guilty of as they try to keep their margins in the black. The result was a company with a wide range and assortment that was unable to service any market segment completely or to the satisfaction of Scala himself.

Since the product assortment is narrower, so too is the customer base, according to Scala.

"We can't be all things to everybody. We're going to stay with what we do, and that means we're back to our original mission," Scala said.

In conjunction with the re-focusing, Scala also said the New York-based company is working extensively on private-label sourcing. The move stems from various retail requests.

Scala sources the majority of the fabric it uses from the Far East and owns and operates an office in Shanghai, China and Delhi, India. That area of the business, which is kept separate from the eponymous collection, Scala said, is rapidly growing and can handle virtually the entire manufacturing process for retailers, from design to quality control.

The most important part of Scala's new direction will be the type of product it can offer consumers and the level of service it can provide. Many consumers, Scala said, were tired of the cookie-cutter-type products offered in malls throughout the country and were more interested in finding value-added, unique, affordable items that made a statement.

And since Scala International is not one of the big textiles conglomerates, which Scala said he didn't necessarily want his company to be, it is able to tailor assortments specifically and provide more customized service for retailers.

"I want a customer to be able to go into a store and feel comfortable that she's leaving with something that's personalized and not part of that huge 'mall culture,'" Scala said. "We're doing things a consumer might see in a designer store setting and now will be able to afford through the retailers we do business with."

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