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  • Cecile Corral

Bigger and brighter make sales day at beach for towel suppliers

Bright color palettes, plush textures and blanket-like dimensions are the fashion for beach towels.

"We find that the adult customer is looking for larger sizes, heavier weights and better quality in beach towels," said Dan Harris, vp, marketing and product development, Revere Mills.

Answering that call, Revere Mills, based in Niles, IL, is combining fashion looks inspired from ready-to-wear with textural constructions, including Chinese-made double jacquards and fiber reactives, for its new and more upscale introductions as well as for its more promotional lines for the mass market. For the latter, Revere has stepped up quality and price points of its 38" x 68" towels to a $14.99 to $19.99 range.

Opulence also plays a lead role in the new line by TerriSol Corp., based in New York, which is introducing its Resort collection of Brazilian-made luxury towels — 100 percent cotton, 600 grams per square meter in weight, printed on both sides and available in 40" x 70" and 60" x 70". The towels also feature a loop for hanging on a hook and come in special packaging designed like a clear plastic beach bag. Positioned for department and specialty stores, these towels are set to retail at $24.99 and $39.99, respectively.

"We are aiming to be different from everyone else in the business," said Eric Vergucht, executive vp and general manager, Terrisol.

Hilasal, based in Miami, is hoping that neon lights will shine brightest at the store level as it launches its new Neon collection of solid-color, 30" x 60", 12-pound beach towels. The line comes in four classic neon shades — yellow, pink, orange and green.

"We aren't the first to sell bright colors, but this new Neon line is qualitatively different from anything else ever seen in the marketplace," said Dick Greenberg, president, Hilasal.

The Neon collection, made in El Salvador and Mexico, is open to all levels of retail. Price points were not available at press time.

For the growing children's category, character licenses dressed in bright color schemes and emblazoned on beach towels are expected to drive sales in the category.

Franco Manufacturing Co., based in Metuchen, NJ, is aggressively continuing to push its successful SpongeBob SquarePants license, based on the animated TV show.

"We think SpongeBob will be a very important license for us in 2002," said David Franco, director of marketing, Franco. "It spans all ages, and it's open to all retail tiers."

Similarly, New York-based WestPoint Stevens is debuting a collection of Disney character-driven designs in beach towels, including Winnie the Pooh and Disney princesses — Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. The collection is divided into three categories of towel quality — regular loop terry, velour printed, and velour fiber reactive — respectively, the three levels of quality and terry texture range from mass to mid-tier to specialty at the retail level.

The collection represents WestPoint Stevens' first introduction of Disney beach towels since it became a licensee several months ago, said Anita Zampino, vp, Disney Home division, WestPoint Stevens.

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