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Brands take command in Dan River fall outing

Retail Editor 4, Michele SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, August 25, 2003

New York — Three Dan River brands will take center stage this market as the company applies finishing touches on its expansions of Alexander Julian, Lilly Pulitzer and Supreme Dimensions — its bed-in-a-bag line that debuted last spring.

The company’s objective with Supreme Dimensions is to build a luxury product positioned as moderately priced that offers great color, pattern and quality. Its current bed-in-a-bag program now retails for $200 for king or queen and includes a 300-count ring-spun cotton sheet with 100 percent cotton outer bedding.

Building on the line, Dan River will add a non solid stria solid color sheet program that can layer into the line. Also new is a textured solid color comforter program. Outer bedding will be available in a honeycomb piqué and will reverse to a coordinating stria color scheme.

Dan River senior vp sales and marketing Louis Casali described the new brand focus as working together to serve a grander purpose. “All three brands bring a unique product to our luxury portfolio with high-end specifications and qualities,” he explained. “They will help to position Dan River for luxury.”

Some of the higher quality features will include extra deep pockets, extra wide flat sheets, 15" split-corner dust ruffles, 10 ounces of down-like fill and 110" x 96" dimensions on king comforters. “The whole reason we built this program is because we wanted to offer our customers more quality,” said Casali.

Responding to a perceived void in the market, Dan River will introduce a line of simple, elegant and classic print bedding ensemble to serve as a sub brand for their printed collection. The new patterns are the masculine and conservative Laurel Crest and Harvard Stripe, as well as the feminine Shantelle and Sherbrooke florals.

Printed on a cotton twill that reverses to an English woven pin dot, Laurel Crest previewed in navy and putty as well as merlot and dune combinations. Harvard Stripe features a pinstripe that previewed in navy and putty as well as black and sand combinations that reverse to a mini windowpane design. Shantelle, which previewed in periwinkle, rose and silver, features a French floral print on pique that reverses to an all-over daisy pattern. Sherbrooke is another delicate yet less intricate French floral on pique.

Company executives said the prints will be marketed as comforter sets, but believe an independent sheet business is a natural fit for open stock and sheet sets. According to Casali, the intention is to expand since “Supreme Dimensions is a brand we can build out into other product categories.”

As for Dan River’s Alexander Julian line, which features the non-solid solid “water colours” pattern, the company is introducing six new colors to the palette for a total of 17 colors. They are bluegrass, Caribbean, grenadine, juniper, onyx and pacific. Dan River will also be offering diamond quilted mitered-cuff comforters with a complementary water colours background in six different color combinations as well as coverlets in all 17 colors and reversible coverlets in six colors.

But the most exciting addition to the casual contemporary palette has to be the two varieties of horizontal umbrae stripe in neutral spice and vivid beach tones for sheets, comforters and pillow shams.

Comforters will run $79 for twin, $99 for queen and $129 for king, while open-stock sheets start at $9.99 for twin and go up to $39.99 for king. Pillowcases will range from $19.99 to $24.99. Constructions will be 300-count ring-spun cotton.

In line with the new emphasis, the company recently made style, design and pricing changes to the Lilly Pulitzer line, which Dan River will display in its own showroom for the first time this market. It’s positioning the line similarly to the upper end for designer home collections. The program will consist of comforters, window treatments, freestanding decorative pillows, throws, quilts, ceramic bath accessories and bath mats.

“We’ve found that layering is very important to this consumer since she might not change her bedding ensemble all together, but will add to it,” explained Geri Wetmore, vp lifestyle brand marketing and new business development.

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