Ralph Lauren Signs with Sferra

Retail Editor 8, Don Hogsett, November 4, 2010

New York - Answering half of one of the biggest questions floating around the home textiles industry, Ralph Lauren Home announced last night that it has signed up Sferra Bros. Ltd. to produce bed and bath linens for the upstairs and hospitality markets.
The agreement does not include Lauren Ralph Lauren bed and bath products, which represent the bulk of the company's home textiles business and are currently licensed to WestPoint Home.
This new licensing agreement with Sferra takes Ralph Lauren into several additional channels of distribution, including hotel, resort and spa. The line will also be available to the company's own home stores, specialty stores, high-end department stores and e-commerce, according to the announcement. For this channel, the Sferra license also includes table linens.
In the mid 1990s, Ralph Lauren introduced a two-tier merchandising structure which focused most of its attention - and business - on the Lauren brand, which became the workhorse for the department store channel. Ralph Lauren branded textiles were essentially sold only in the company's own stores, which have limited home assortments. So, this license represents an expansion of the company's efforts in soft home.
For Sferra, the arrangement is a coup for a company that has been probably the most consistently successful supplier to the high-end trade recently. Sferra, founded 120 years ago, has expanded under Paul Hooker, its president and principle, over the past years, signing such licenses as Kelly Wearstler while developing its own 1891 brand.
"The opportunity to work with such a world renowned leader of fashion and exceptional taste is a natural for Sferra," said Hooker in announcing the deal.
"We are thrilled to partner with Sferra," said Frank Guzzetta, president of Ralph Lauren Home, "a world class company that has a genuine understanding of our brand and the luxury market."
Added Hooker, "Their customer is our customer."

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