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WestPoint Sets a New Course

NORM SAVARIA WestPoint HomeNorm Savaria WestPoint Home
NEW YORK - WestPoint Home's new leadership team has been in place barely three months, but the company came to New York Home Fashion Market with a message about capability, its brands and its designs.
     The focus fell on WestPoint's key licensed brands: Hanes, Izod and Caribbean Joe. However, the company has been conducting consumer research into its own legacy brands - the best known of which are Martex, Patrician and Vellux - with an eye toward revivifying them moving forward.
     "I was surprised by how positive and how specific the results were," said Norm Savaria, who joined the company as president and ceo in June.
      "There's great opportunity to do things with that - to begin to differentiate and show fashion leadership again."
     Taran Chernin, the former vp of product development at Linen 'n Things, who joined the company in June as executive vp and chief merchandising officer, said WestPoint also sees growth for the existing licensed properties.
     The company has been building its design department in recent weeks and plans to become more aggressive in touting its fashion chops as well. That includes utility bedding, where WestPoint is still the licensee for Lauren Ralph Lauren.
IzodIzod has been recast to emphasize the sports heritage in the brand’s DNA.
     "We're making a concentrated effort to down alternative to really bring fashion into it," said Chernin. "We think there's room for a lot more technology."
     For the market, one focus area settled capabilities - and technology - in sheets, towels, blankets and utility bedding. In the first two categories, products are presented in a range of constructions with features called out and price points running from lowest to uppermost.
     Every buyer comes in "from a different angle," noted Nancy Golden, svp of marketing and brand. "We want them to see we can work with them direct or as a distributor."
     New core introductions included the fade-resistant So Soft sheet, snag-resistant Snag No More towel, and the eco-friendly Second Nature towel made of 50% Modal and 50% cotton.
     Izod's fashion bedding has been redesigned to place more emphasis on the roots of the apparel line. "This is more of what you think of as Izod," said Golden. "It's fresh. It's sporty."
     The story across the multi-category Hanes program remains "comfort and fit," she added. Caribbean Joe fills in the casual lifestyle slot.

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