• Cecile Corral

Hilasal towels to hang in bath soon

Miami — After spending several years concentrating on beach towels, Hilasal, based here, is shifting its focus to bath towels as of the upcoming New York Home Textiles Show in October.

"There are terrific opportunities in bath right now," said Dick Greenberg, president. "We expect in the next couple of years to make it more than half of our entire business. Beach towels is surely a flat market, and any options we could have had growing our share of that market would have been very difficult due to a lot of price competition."

To properly launch the new bath line, Hilasal is renovating its New York showroom, suite 801 at 295 Fifth Avenue.

"We've had it for about 12 years, and we've never really done much to it; we painted it and installed new carpeting, but now we're completely remodeling it with new fixtures to present our new bath lines," Greenberg said. "The showroom was perfect for beach towels, but not for bath. Now we'll change that."

Most, if not all, of Hilasal's bath towels will be produced in the company-owned factories in El Salvador.

The first launch will include fiber-reactive printed towels in both sheered and terry, fiber-reactive printed with embellishments, and jacquard border towels. The embellished line will come as ensembles of bath, hand and tip towels. The other collections will be available as ensembles of bath, hand and wash towels.

Price points for bath towels will average $10 to $12.

Still, continuing to pursue its beach towel business, Hilasal recently formed licensing partnerships with two major properties — Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode II and Harley Davidson. For both collections, Hilasal will produce fiber reactive beach towels.

Hilasal was the beach towel manufacturer licensee for "Star Wars: Episode I," Greenberg said, "and we're delighted to be working with them again. For "Episode I," retailers sold an awful lot of merchandise, including beach towels."

The Star Wars towels are set to retail at about $20 and are poised for all levels of retail.

For Harley Davidson, the towels will also retail for $20 but will target mid-tier to upscale levels only.

"We think Harley Davidson is one of the great brand names of America," Greenberg said. "It's not restricted to motorcycle lovers. It's a lifestyle. And we've already seen a lot of retail interest for it."

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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