WPS, Designers Guild grow deal

Marvin Lazaro, February 20, 2001

WEST POINT, GA — WestPoint Stevens Inc. has expanded its relationship with Designers Guild by recently entering into a licensing agreement with the London-based designer.

WestPoint will now manufacture sheets, towels, bedding and bath accessories, beach towels, basic bedding, blankets and infant bedding all featuring the distinctive style of Designers Guild. WestPoint's international division had previously worked with the group for products that were manufactured and sold in Europe, with some brought to the U.S. for sale. WestPoint was not ready to release the number of skus or price points the new license will have.

"We are delighted to broaden our relationship with Designers Guild," said Chip Fontenot, president and coo of WestPoint Stevens, in a statement released by the company.

Although patterns are still in development, WestPoint hopes to have samples ready by June, with a full introduction ready in time for fall market with a fourth-quarter shipping date. Since Designers Guild's designs have been more European, the new products will have more of an American style and feel while still staying in line with the more traditional patterns Designers Guild already has in place. The new products will also be designed to play off the rich history Designers Guild has already established. WestPoint is also hoping to offer the items to department stores, high-end catalogs and specialty stores.

"For many years, Designers Guild has been an integral part of our bedding and bath offerings in the United Kingdom," said Fontenot. "We are excited to expand upon its tremendous success here in the States, and we look forward to providing American consumers with this wonderful new alternative for the bedroom and bath."

"It's a wonderful complement to our business," said Toni Cauble, vp, public relations, WestPoint Stevens, based here. "We've been associated with them since the early '90s, and we're happy to bring their distinct look here."

Designers Guild currently designs and wholesales decorative fabrics, wallcoverings, upholstery and bed and bath collections in Europe. Founded in 1970 by Tricia Guild, who is also creative director, the group's wholesale turnover totals $50 million worldwide.

"Our partnership with WestPoint Stevens allows us to uphold our core beliefs as we broaden our reach to the very viable American market, in which our bedding and bath lines are truly unique in their quality, color and design sensibility," said Simon Jeffreys, Designers Guild's group chief executive.

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