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Top Form Trying to Design
a Better Bra
The Chinese are serious about building a better bra. There's now a degree in bra studies at Hong Kong's Polytechnic University.
And China's biggest lingerie manufacturer, Top Form, has a bra lab at its factory. The company makes more than 60 million bras a year for well-known labels like Victoria's Secret, Playtex and Maidenform.
Top Form has been experimenting with various types of padding to give the bust a boost. They've tried air, but like tires it was prone to flats.
Oil-filled pads were too expensive and heavy.
Now, the company is trying a filling made from a thin type of fiberfill, the stuffing used ski parkas.
MY DIRTY DISHES...what's in a name, you ask? If
you're too shy to be a dirty dish, you can at least wear one!
Owner and designer Rebecca Roman debuted her latest line of lingerie-clad ladies (dishes!) at the
International Lingerie Show in Las Vegas last October.
The show was a success for the San Francisco-based designer who landed her line in retail outlets
throughout the United States. Especially popular was
the Nice Bum! bra-camisole and t-shirt featuring a sexy and glittery bombshell in panties and thigh
highs. Also adding some spice was the Mamacita bra-camisole and matching glittery hot pants. Ooh,
If wearing these foxy numbers isn't enough, you can hang them on the wall with a Nice Bum! panty girl
poster or send yourself a Surrender ye Booty sexy pirate girl greeting card. These fun and frisky items
are a sure hit for any occasion and especially great for Valentine's Day.
French Lingerie Makers
Fight for Sales
French lingerie makers are seeking partners, bolstering their brands and
plastering billboards in Paris with traffic-stopping advertisements of women in lacy underwear to counter a surge in discount bra imports from China.
The fight for a piece of the French lingerie market, valued at E2.6 billion, or $3.1 billion, is intensifying a battle taking place at Paris bus stands and billboards. The ad blitz shows off France's lingerie-making techniques that draw on centuries of expertise. One Paris manufacturer, Cadolle, claims that it invented the bra with a patent from 1889.
French imports of Chinese bras rose 93% in the first six months of last year, to 10.5 million, after the European Union ended a 40-year quota system.
That flood of imports provoked an outcry from European governments. President Jacques Chirac was among those calling for new quotas after the "brutal and unacceptable invasion of the European and U.S. markets by Chinese textiles."
In response, the Chinese in June agreed to rein in export growth to 10% for each of 10 textile categories. When the June accord was reached, about E400 million of textiles in transit, partly stemming from a rush in orders to beat the deadline, were blocked at European ports. They were only let in after a September compromise deal that allowed through some items in place of those from unfilled quotas. The curbs now stand at 8% to 12.5% annually for three years.
The new quotas will prompt Chinese factories to resume rerouting shipments through other countries, said Patrice Argain, managing director of the French Lingerie Federation.
Rising imports reflect tougher competition among retailers, whose cost-cutting caused lingerie sales in France, Europe's No. 2 market, after Britain, to fall for the first time in five years in 2004 even as sales volumes climbed by almost 4%.
The Aubade brand of lingerie was sold to the Swiss company Calida Holding in July to gain funds for expansion. Aubade plans to open two Paris stores next month.
"To keep going, you have to have modern-day means and that means creating alliances," said Ann-Charlotte Pasquier, general manager of Aubade. she said she expected Calida's funds and retailing experience to complement the "French touch" in design.
Another of the 70 brands of French lingerie, Princesse tam.tam, was sold last month by Loumia and Shama Hiridjee to Fast Retailing, based in Yamaguchi City, Japan. The Bena family last week sold control of Barbara and Ravage brands to Natexis Private Equity, based in Paris.
Making a bra can now take just 20 minutes, and Chinese manufacturers are closing the knowledge gap to become more than low-cost producers.
"The whole lingerie market is moving under China's influence," said Philippe Grodner, chief executive of Simone Pérèle, a family-owned company with E75 million in annual sales. "Our battle is to focus on making quality products to avoid being drawn into the price war."
Buying upmarket lingerie is psychological, he said. "If a women falls for something," Perele said, "she's prepared to fork out the extra E10 or E20 for it."
Since 1990, discount retailers including the Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz, Vet'Affaires and Body One lifted their market share in France by 18% to 28%.
"We're making lingerie more democratic by offering it 30% to 40% cheaper than elsewhere," said Marc Seroussi, chief executive of Body One, one of the largest French specialist lingerie chains.
Body One's sales rose 36% in the year to March 31, to E11.4 million, as it added more stores. Revenue for the six months to Sept. 30 rose 23%.
French manufacturers have been losing sales in Europe, their main export market, where consumers spend about E13 billion a year on lingerie. The value of French manufacturers' exports to the European Union fell 9.6% in 2004.
To set their products apart from cheaper garments, luxury lingerie makers are developing their brands and selling them more aggressively. Natexis's buyout arm is investing E6 million to revive the Barbara brand.
Lingerie makers are advertising more, too. JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company, said billings to lingerie companies rose 24% in 2003 and by 23% in 2004.
The shift in the lingerie market is not only hurting the small, independent manufacturers. Sara Lee, based in Chicago, sold its European lingerie brands, including the rights to Playtex and Wonderbra, to Sun Capital Partners.
M&S Reported Encouraging
Store chain Marks & Spencer has reported "encouraging" third-quarter sales and better-than-expected Christmas trading
after improving performance in all areas of its business.
The company, which had refrained from pre-Christmas price-cutting, said third-quarter UK sales were up 4.8%, with general merchandise
sales up 2.1% and food sales up 7.9%. Clothing sales recorded a less spectacular increase of 1.9%.
UK third-quarter same-store sales increased 2.9% over the quarterly period, with full-price sales of general merchandise up 5.3% and
clearance stocks falling 35% from last year.
M&S said the positive trend progressed throughout the quarter, with especially good Christmas trading.
The company cited improvements in all business segments by way of better buying, better values and a firmer grasp of inventory.
Chief executive Stuart Rose commented: "This has been an encouraging quarter. Looking ahead, we expect the market to remain
challenging. Moreover, we are facing increasing cost pressures.
He added: "We are on track against our plan although there remains much to do."
M&S's one-lauded clothing offering has been struggling to rise above heightening high-street rivalry in recent years, and chief
executive Stuart Rose has been implementing a long line of strategies to try to target this.
An M&S spokeswoman reported that the company had just launched its spring ranges, and
re-launches were going well - although Rose had said it is early days, she added.
"Our Autograph line has been expanded through all clothing categories, and
will act as the 'best of' selection of all goods."
She added that the sale of Autograph goods had now been expanded from 27 to 40 stores and would be present in 100 of the company's
stores by the summer.
Buyers' Best Sellers
All Buyers, Boutique
and Online Store Owners
McPete Sez wants to know what is your hottest selling garment. What is selling out
because McPete Sez readers want to know. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and include your name, your store's name, city and state along with a phone number
and email, stating your best seller, and who the manufacturer is. If your email is chosen, you will be contacted and
your email will be posted in McPete Sez, along with your store
“Seduce Me” Gift Bags With
California Fantasies is now offering “Seduce Me” Gift Bags perfect for Valentine’s Day, other gift giving holidays or any day you want to make someone feel special!
Retailers are excited about this new addition to their profitable lubricant section. “It’s a nicely packaged, quality lubricant priced affordably in sizes my customers’ are requesting,” says Mark, Retail Owner. With affordable pricing and sizes that are in demand, Razzels Flavored, Warming Lubricants are an excellent choice for retailers’ Valentine’s Day selection.
Contact: Ph: 877-896-6992 email@example.com
Why We Love Children
1. A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead.
"How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil.
"Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently.
You did WHAT ? ! ?" the teacher exclaimed in surprise.
"You know," explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move."
A small boy is sent to bed by his father.
Five minutes later...."Da-ad...."
"I'm thirsty. Can you bring drink of water?"
"No, You had your chance. Lights out."
Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....."
"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"
I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"
Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....."
"When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"
3. An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him "How do you expect to get into Heaven?"
The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'"
4. One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed.
She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?"
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.
"I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room"
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice:
"The big sissy"
Padded Underwear for Athletes
As Sports Get More Rough and Tumble, So Does the Underwear Athletes Wear
Today's athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and more physical than ever before. As the competition heats up on fields, courts and rinks across the country, athletes are turning to a new layer of defense to protect and prevent injuries -- padded underwear.
The next time you see a NBA superstar draw a hard foul, or your favorite collegiate or professional football player involved in a big-time hit, there's a good chance they're wearing a new form of protective padding that's integrated directly into compression wear -- the underwear many athletes wear beneath their uniforms. McDavid Sports, a leading name in sports medical products and protective equipment, recently introduced its HexPad(TM) protective wear to the collegiate and professional ranks.
HexPads are small, hexagonal shaped pads, which are permanently bonded to compression wear and other types of protective equipment, such as knee, elbow and forearm pads. The pads are designed to conform, flex and stretch with the contours of the body in ways previous generations of pads never have. As an athlete runs, jumps, dives, twists, slides or spins, HexPads move with the body to provide maximum coverage and protection, unlike other types of pads that leave gaps in coverage or can slide out of position.
In addition to absorbing and dissipating impacts, HexPads are extremely lightweight and breathable, a key factor for athletes who want increased protection without adding to the size and weight of their equipment.
Today, most NFL and NBA teams utilize patented HexPad technology. Athletes like Dwyane Wade from the NBA's Miami Heat and Corey Maggette from the Los Angeles Clippers utilize HexPads every night to protect their lower and upper bodies.
Andy Weinstock has been in the fabric and textile business all his life, but professionally since 1969.
"I love what I do, selling fabrics around the globe. I've met lots of interesting, creative, dynamic
folks; some have become dear friends. I love to help new businesses find the things they need to become successful. It works for everyone."
You can ask Andy questions about Fabrics at
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not necessarily reflect the views of
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