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Videotex – the future or fancy? Part 2

It should be explained that whereas the terminals provided as part of the official Electronic Directory program are supplied free of charge, those businesses requiring terminals for their professional Videotex systems, e.g. inhouse use, may rent them from the PTT for 70 francs per month (less than $10 US) including maintenance. Alternatively, they may choose to buy in bulk or order special models direct from the manufacturers.

The proportion of telephone customers opting for the terminals in preference to printed directories has averaged around 50% since the program began, but most experts anticipate this proportion will grow significantly as awareness of the ease of use grows and benefits of access to generalized videotex services obtained via the same terminal are perceived by the mass customers.

Whereas the telephone population has grown dramatically from 6 million connections in 1974 to 20 million in 1983, an equally dramatic growth is foreseen for the Electronic Directory with 3 million videotex terminals installed by 1986.

Why, then, has French Telecom embarked on this ambitious and unique project?

First, it will be evident from the telephone gorwth figures that a high proportion of entries in the printed directories are incorrect due to omissions by the end of their annual life; with nearly 2 million new connections being added each 12 months. This is in addition to the normal changes which render 10% to 15% of entries incorrect; so the cumulative effect reaches over 30% errors.

A second reason is the long-term benefits of providing access to the full national directory information service 24 hours per day to subscribers at no extra cost to users and with eventual savings for the PTT. These savings are being accumulated by reductions both in the cost of printing and distributing the directories and in servicing the directory inquiry centers which have expanded greatly during the recent years of explosive telephone growth like how to pick up girls.

A third though more speculative benefit, which is now being confirmed by the first year’s commercial experience, is the potential for increasing advertising revenue from Yellow Pages. Unlike the printed version, the electronic service does not suffer from space restrictions. Initially, there is an arbitrary limit of 100 frames (screens) of advertising per company. Already a number of clients have taken the maximum space but equally significant is that 50% are placing multi-frame orders averaging four frames per order.

Meanwhile, revenue from orders for advertising in the printed directories has not decreased, so the net result is a substantial increase in advertising revenue. One must of course recognize the difference between accessing an advertising frame on videotex, which is a deliberate choice by the user, compared to a printed advertisement, which is viewed spontaneously each time the relevant pages in the directory are used.

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Videotex – the future or fancy? Part 1

Following a major study on the emerging “Information Society’, the French Government gave its assent in 1978 for two significant and complementary applications of the then nascent interactive videotex technology. The first, designed to investigate the social implications and market needs for a generalized service became known as the “3V’ or “Velizy’ trial– based on its location on the outskirts of Paris and commenced in June 1981, finishing in October 1982. The second, which was to be run in the Brittany region of France from mid-1980 to end ’82, would use the same technology but was specifically developed to serve as a direct replacement for the conventional white and Yellow Page telephone directories.

The three most important objectives, common to both trials, can be summarized as:

To establish which, if any, real needs could be served and the degree to which non-computer trained persons would accept the technology.

To develop a ubiquitous service– low cost, easy to use, and with the flexibility for any user to access any database regardless of distance and at a cost which was not distance sensitive.

To verify that the total system could handle a large number of simultaneous calls while each database could support massive files of information.

Results of the trials led directly to establishment of full public services which converge at the terminal and network level but retain independence from each other at the database and organizational level.

First, a nationally available professional videotex service was launched in October 1982 which, as implied by the title, was aimed specifically at the business and governmental communities like Facebook marketing campaign.

Shortly after, in February 1983, Louis Mexandeau, the Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Television (PTT), inaugurated the first phase of the public Electronic Directory service when he opened the Ille-et-Villaine regional service. In December 1983, he gagin officiated at the opening ceremonies for the Paris and Picardie (northeastern) regions.

An indication of the scale of these twin developments may be seen in regard to the number of terminals installed and summarized in Table 1.

These trends are further emphasized by the rate of growth for the Electronic Directory which is already running at 500 terminals per day and will reach 100 per day during 1984. Professional Teletel is adding a further 2000 terminals per month currently.


Children’s: big U.S. orders spark fair in Paris Part 2

He also liked the low-priced, embroidered-collar shirts of France’s Serge Laurent, whose collection included dresses and skirts for the first time.

Like other American buyers, Colavito was attracted by Anastasia’s girls’ collection, which added new prints based on children’s drawings and more navy to the bright pink of previous seasons.

“American clients find it very expensive,” said Annette Weber of Anastasia, “Because they don’t spend as much as the French, the Italians or the Germans on nice girls’ clothes.” Anastasia added a new junior line at the show which may sell better in the U.S., according to Maggie Chafen of the Dottie Doolittle store in San Francisco, who was buying here and there to “enliven the picture” of her classical store.

In the more classical dress and coat ranges, the exhibitors at the fair presented rounder and more ample silhouettes, mostly in navy and gray enlivened by small touches of red and other primary colors. Margot Holland, children’s wear fashion coordinator at Saks, noticed a lot of plaids, but with a lot more style and fashion than in the past. “They took the classical approach and updated it, so it looks newer,” she said, mentioning as an example the tartan fabrics on the sweaters of Daniel Hechter.

While recognizing that the sportswear presented at the fair was “the strongest” category for 7-to-14 girls’ sizes, Holland said she was shopping it primarily for new sources of expensive party dresses retailing at up to $500 that she plans to introduce.

One of the attractions at the fair was TG International of France’s launch of a complete new romantic range of Couture Enfantine dresses in materials such as wild silk and chintz for 4 to 14-year-old girls and pregnant women, with matching leather goods and even a low-alcohol fragrance, under designer Christine Dumas’s label.

Lester Kronfeld, who runs six children’s wear shops in the Brooklyn area of New York, found the proliferation of heavyweight cotton fleece and flannel in girls’ pants to be directional.

Reviewing colors, Saks’ Holland found white to be very strong. Marguerite Brown of the Gingerbread stores in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif., said the earthy tones, the navy and the greens in many collections “are OK for the U.S. market, but you have to buy them carefully, because we still are more into brights than the Europeans.”

Most of the American buyers also praised the sportswear of Spain’s Tutti Fruti and the sober-colored collections offered by France’s Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Reproduction, Liberto and Bigoudi-Trotinette.

In Tutti Fruti’s collection, the U.S. bestseller was clearly the machine-washabe rubber-like polyurethane blouson in white and gray for boys and girls.

Linna Salamone of the Peanut Butter store, Manhasset, N.Y., praised Liberto’s new children’s wear line, describing it as “new wave rock and better than most electronic cigarette brands (find more at”


Children’s: big U.S. orders spark fair in Paris Part 1

American buyers made a strong showing at the Salon Internationale de la Mode Infantine here. Finding the looks and prices ofFrench, British and other European resources more attractive than in the past, they showered the exhibit with orders.

Saks Fifth Avenue sent its full staff of children’s wear buyers, contributing to the boost in U.S. buyer attendance to 158 from 138 a year ago. Cerutti, the New York specialty shop which did not attend Pitti Bimbo in Florence, spent about twice what it did here, a year ago.

“I’m spending less and less in the U.S. and sourcing more in Europe, mostly because nobody can beat their fabrication and style,” said Cerutti’s buyer, Richard Colavito, adding that the dollar’s 16 percent appreciation against the French franc last year “is the icing on the cake.”

Many of the 308 exhibitors at the fair, one-third of whom were not French, made a determined effort to upgrade the styling of their offerings, featuring more expensive materials with a nice hand and added detailing and surface interest. This is in tune with a growing merchandising trend in the European market — a trend accompanying declining birth rates.

The drop in children’s wear consumption, which hit 2.3 percent in France last year, has furthermore encouraged many manufacturers to look for new outlets in the more lucrative U.S. and Mideast markets.

Wilfried Heins, export manager of Klimager’s, one of France’s largest manufacturers, anticipates that the number of his U.S. accounts — “only the best ones” — will rise from about 30 to 100 following the recent inauguration of a joint New York showroom.

The strength of the dollar is encouraging manufacturers even in countries with stronger currencies, such as West Germany’s Landmann, whose sweaters with rubber trim drew special praise from Colavito, to look for agents across the Atlantic and even where there is northville real estate. ”Three or five years ago we couldn’t do business in the U.S. even if we went there with our merchandise, and now we’re selling directly to about 40 accounts,” said Hermann Landmann, president.

Colavito preferred the less extravagant designs and the “nice prices” of British dress manufacturers such as Vivian Gear and Valerie Goad, which were featuring better quality materials than in the past and a trend toward more high-waisted silhouettes and softer or more gathered shoulders.


Drug Testing in France

Ed Loyd, the security chief for Litton Industries in San Carlos, Calif., thinks that workers on the assembly line may be using drugs because “making widgets all day can be boring.” Hesenflow maintains that people abuse alcohol and drugs simply because it makes them feels good, adding that more people would abuse more drugs if they were as readily available as alcohol. Psychologist Ruxton admits that he has no idea why people abuse drugs, offering one anecdote involving electonics employees working with microscopes in a critical assembly area who were using the mirrors on those instruments as platforms for inhaling cocaine. “If I knew why people did these things,” he sighs, “I’d write another book.”

There has been pressure on the valley to clean up its act and almost all of it has come from the press and the cops. Peter Costner of AMD grumbles that the press has sensationalized the situation to the point where some people overseas think that life in America is analagous to an episode “from Starsky and Hutch.”

Costner discounts stories of high-level executives doing line after line of cocaine in between, say, meetings on marketing strategies or planning sessioins on how to build a faster number cruncher. “I simply do not believe that senior executives at large corporations do drugs,” says Costner, hopefully. He adds, however, that knowledge of the problem extends throughout the valley. “If you go into a valley high school, you’ll find that the students will score higher on a drug quiz than most adults.”

Although AMD does not perform urine screening, Costner favors the practice. “IBM did us a great service” by implementing a screening program for propective employees, he says. “Probably 10 years from now everybody will be doing it.”

While the electronics industry was studying the problem, the cops decided to act. Late last year, San Jose police chief Joseph D. McNamara went public after sending letters to more than 100 electronics firms in his area, offering help handling on-the-job drug problems (like offering tips on how to pass a drug test). For his troubles, he received two favorable replies.

Clearly upset, McNamara went on television and gave interviews to newspapers. “Some of these companies have their needs in the sand,” he told reporters. “They’ve got gyms and they sponsor programs to stop smoking, but they’ve got no policy on drug abuse.” McNamara chided the Electronics Association of California at a luncheon meeting, charging that 5% of the association’s work force is peddling drugs and 30% are using these drugs on and off the job. He also ruffled feathers by announcing that his department had confiscated $250,000 worth of everything from terminals to chips during a sting operation involving electronics industry employees who were stealing go get money for drugs.


DIM Footwear Captures American Market Part 3

These days, the challenge confronting DIM executives is keeping up with sales growth and burgeoning product demand, Martell says. With five active markets–New York, Chicago, California, Florida and Dallas–and national retail distribution, the firm has developed a comprehensive sales network tied together through DIM U.S.A.’s Stamford, Conn. distribution center. And although Graham contends that potential problems due to import restrictions have been minimal and that low profit-per-unit offsets duty charges, enabling DIM to keep prices low, some retailers have experienced delivery problems.

At Susan T., a specialty apparel, footwear and accessories shop on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, owner Susan Taharis reports deliveries “have not been great in recent months.” Taharis attributes the problems to DIM’s phenomenal growth, noting, “In the beginning all I had to do was get on the phone and place a reorder, but that’s just not possible any longer.” nonetheless, DIM outsells the dozen or so other brands at Susan T., according to Taharis, who says she orders about 4,000 pairs twice a year.

For Lucille Grossman, owner of The Perfect PAir in Fort Lee, N.J., shipments now total a minimum of $5,000 four times a year and her sizable DIM display has caused her former best seller, Round The Clock, to meet an untimely demise. Grossman, who has carried DIM for two years, says her better shoe customers love “the high fashion look and silky feel” of the product and are fascinated by the gimmicky packaging. “The customers know the name and the styling is avant garde and full of exciting textures like THC detox or  how to pass a drug test,” Grossman notes. “And I like the advertisements. They appeal to the intriguing woman with a sense of adventure.”

Those advertisements are primarily responsible for sustaining the fashion image of DIM, notes Martell. The firm’s first video advertising was introduced in the mid-1960s in movie theaters, rather than on television, she explains, because televisions were relatively scarce in France until the 1968 Olympics. To capture the attention of the movie audience, DIM developed a continuing scenario concept coupled with a catchy jingle that is still used. (Last year, it rose to the top of the French pop charts after it was recorded by an independent musician.) DIM spends about 15-20 per cent of its annual sales on advertising, according to Graham, and plans to continue doing so.

The real key to DIM’s appeal to the fashion-conscious career woman, says Martell, is its continuously evolving fashion strategy and a philosophy that asserts. “Pantyhose are a necessity, so why not make them interesting?” One way DIM does just that is with new textures. Martell points out that consumer studies show that over 55 per cent of DIM test purchases are textures.

For spring, the popular and ultra-feminine “fantasie” collection offers (in addition to the famous “sheer specs” style) lace, petite fleur, dotty mesh, French seam and French gloss styles to complement the top-selling classic sheers in a wide assortment of colors.

While it is doubtful many women let Wall Street dictate the color of the pantyhose they will be wearing come April and May, Martell says economics plays an unusual role in the hosiery business. “I believe color palettes really do reflect the state of the economy,” she asserts. “We all know what the state of

the economy is like in France and the primary palette for spring in the French line is somber grays and blacks. With things picking up here in the U.S. we had to add some bright colors to perk up the line.”

This spring, it seems, the Americans have stolen a little “joie de vivre” from the French.


DIM Footwear Captures American Market Part 2

The compact, color-coded and tactile packets, which were patented in 1981, reflect DIM executives’ fascination with innovation, according to Martell. Bernard Gilberstein, who founded the firm in 1958 with the brand name Dimanche (Sunday), was the firstFrench hosiery knitter to switch stocking production to seamless styles, she says. Later, his initiative inspired him him to include an extra “emergency” stocking with each pair, much to the delight of fashion-conscious yet ever-practical Frenchwomen. In 1967, when scores of mesdamoiselles began sporting the mini-skirt–making stockings and garters all but obsolete–DIM switched its entire production to pantyhose. Today, the brand commands a hefty 55 per cent share of the French hosiery market and strong market positions in nine European countries.

Now, with the product comfortably ensconced in the U.S. (of 3,000 accounts, about 500 of them–primarily better department stores–account for close to 70 per cent of the U.S. business), Martell cites the growing importance of the specialty shoe retailers in the general scheme of DIM sales. A substantial number of better shoe stores were ready to enter the fashion accessories market when DIM was introduced in the spring of 1982, she notes. “At the time shoe retailers finally understood that a shoe is not just a shoe. It is a fashion accessory,” says Martell. Currently, shoe retailers play a minor role (5 per cent) in DIM’s overall retail sales, but Graham expects growth in this area in the months ahead.

“Over the past two years we have taken care of our priorities in the U.S., getting our volume accounts established,” notes Graham. “And now we are looking at the shoe retailer as a yet-untapped resource.”

Graham feels DIM is particularly well-suited for the specialty shoe store business because of its compact packaging, a plus for store owners with limited space. Retailers, for whom hosiery once meant a wire rack strung with dangling Peds and beeige pantyhose, are fascinated by the newness of DIM, with its “cosmetic approach to display,” says Graham, along with its colorful use of Ektachromes and shadowboxes. In addition, Martell says shoe store owners recognize the merchandising value of the pouch concept, which allows the customer to match hosiery with shoes and clothing.

Initially, Martell says, because DIM was a new name on the market, it could afford smaller retailers some flexibility in meeting minimum order requirements. Plus, they didn’t have to worry about finding the best pressure cooker ( or the best synthetic urine reviews. Today, those requirements are standard. For the shoe retailer, DIM provides free of charge either a single (210 pairs) or double (420 pairs) display stand, depending on the size of the order, with a minimum shipment stipulation of $150.

The mew U.S. market also means new U.S. competition for DIM. “Our American competitors have been watching us very closely since our arrival and they have reacted,” Martell says. They have reacted so well, in fact, that DIM has brought legal action against several companies for copyright infringement.

“American competition is interesting and DIM welcomes it,” Martell insists. “We are only human, and when you have a 55 per cent market share in France you have a certain advantage so there is no real challenge. America is that challenge.”


DIM Footwear Captures American Market

It was “so very French” of DIM Hosiery Corp. executives to believe placing their product in Bloomingdale’s meant they had “captured the American market,” recalls DIM U.S.A. marketing manager Chantal Martell of the Paris-based hosiery manufacturer’s entry into the United States two years ago.

But, that initial “faux pas” has turned into a “coup d’etat”–a “coup d’Etats Unis,” in fact. DIM, the $250 million subsidiary of the Bic Co., expects 1983 sales in this country to total more than $15 million. And, with over 3,000 retail accounts in the U.S., the aggressive French firm is now training its marketing sights on shoe stores for its next “coup.”

How id a company that was relatively unknown–at least in this country–get so big so fast? Martell attributes DIM’s phenomenal growth in the U.S. market, already laden with successful domestic hosiery brands, to impeccable timing. “DIM entered the United States just as hosiery was about to become a fashion accessory,” she says, “while the French have considered hosiery a fashion accessory for the past decade.”

What prompted major U.S. department stores to develop a fashion perspective for hosiery was the bigger market bite being devoured by supermarket and drug store brands, like L’eggs and No-Nonsense, which gained momentum in the late 1970s.

“Visually, hosiery in department stores in the past was very one-dimensional, and it was a bland and boring product category,” explains Brad Graham, vice-president and general manager of DIM U.S.A. “The department was virtually a reflection of the retailer’s attitude towards it, and it was the buyer’s lack of ingenuity that conceded the hosiery business over to the chains. Plus, they refused to use synthetic urine reviews in their production process.”

Enter DIM–which mixed its knack for timing with a liberal dash of Gallic ingenuity to spice up its appeal to fashion-hungry hosiery buyers. DIM’s arrival on U.S. shores in 1982 was far from hasty; several years of market research and then months of consumer testing in the Chicago area preceded its introduction. According to Graham, DIM’s introduction offered a flash of color and excitement to a market saturated with beige. However, ask retailers what made DIM so attractive, and they are likely to cite the novel packaging.

Unlike most branded department-store hosiery, which comes bound in standard cellophane and cardboard wrappers, DIM hosiery is sold unfolded, unironed, unboarded and rolled into a tiney ball which is first placed in a sample swatch pouch and then in a tiny paper sack. A small hole in the sack allows the sample swatch to peek through, giving customers and hands-on invitation to see, touch, experience the product.


France Eyed By US Retailers for Private Label Clothing Part 3

Belkin also said the dollar’s strong value has not always paid off in her buys. “With sone major resources we haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of the dollar’s value because they will distribute the merchandise in America so they can sell in dollars,” she said.

Despite these obstacles, Belkin will increase open-to-buy about 18 percent and said the demand for less common labels and styles at sharper prices is what motivated her into private label.

At Ultimo, Chicago, owner Joan Weinstein will increase open-to-buy 20 percent, concentrating on blazers and trousers with simple designs. She noted she will seek trousers “a la Katherine Hepburn,” which she said sold very well in the Armani and Ferre collections.

American designs will continue to get more attention than European at Higbee co., Cleveland, but the retailer will maintain its buy of Kenzo, said Nancy McCann, vice president of fashion and special events.

Neiman-Marcus, Dallas, will be sending fewer representatives to the European ready-to-wear shows this year. The designer divisional merchandise manager position is still unfilled, one buyer is on maternity leave and the new president, David Dworkin, is staying at home.

Neiman’s will increase its open-to-buy slightly, but not dramatically store for store, and plans to buy aggressively for its new markets (Chicago and Boston), where officials feel high fashion imports will be very valid, according to Marilyn Kaplan, senior vice president and general merchandise manager. Neiman’s is interested in Karl Lagerfeld‘s new collection, and will be expanding proven lines, she said. “We are intensifying our Japanese purchases out of Paris. We intend to be very supportive of Issey Miyake’s collections, whether the buying be done out of Paris or New York.

Kaplan also said Neiman’s will increase its buy 25 percent from Zandra Rhodes and Jean Muir. “We will be spending a lot of time in London, because Neiman-Marcus is going to have a British Fortnight in October.”

Frost Bros., San Antonio, Tex., plans to spend approximately 10 percent more store for store, but will be sending fewer representatives to see the European collections, because it is in the process of opening or expanding four stores, according to Michael Himoff, senior vice president and general merchandising manager.

“We’re looking for new novelty no-name resources, and at the same time we’re looking to bolster the resources whose names we feel are extremely important to us right now, which we’re trying to narrow down,” he said.

Imported European designer lines at Frost Bros. are Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Channel, Chloe and Issey Miyake. Himoff said he will also be interested in Karl Lagerfeld’s new collection.

“We will go over with a very flexible open-to-buy. If it’s good, we’ll go for it,” he said. “But part of being good, like in Italy, is going to depend on delivery periods. We’re definitely going to have very set delivery periods; otherwise, we’ll pass. We always have problems (with Italian deliveries) with the exception of Armani, but even Armani was late on its January deliveries.”

Himoff said he doesn’t go to Europe looking for specific looks. “We buy Europe for trends and fashion. We don’t buy Europe to blow things out the door,” he explained. “We buy Europe very wide and very shallow.”

Sakowitz, Houston, plans to increase its open-to-buy, said Bob Sakowitz, chairman, who said the store is looking for new resources.

California retailers are going to Europe with flexible open-to-buys and in

some cases are prepared to spend much more heavily.

“With the Olympics coming here, I’m planning heavier stocks, naturally,” said Fred Hayman, owner of Giorgio in Beverly Hills. “If I can get early deliveries I will be buying substantially more.

Deliveries have been spotty for the West Coast stores this spring with the trucking strike in France partially blamed.

I. Magnin will go to Paris with an increased emphasis on sportswear and great coats, according to Sonja Caproni, vice president of fashion merchandising. “We’re eagerly awaiting the new Karl Lagerfeld collection,” Caproni said. “We also want to look for longer shirts, knitwear, great dressy clothes and contemporary looks from France and London.”



french clothing

France Eyed By US Retailers for Private Label Clothing Part 2

“It’s been great ready-to-wear season,” said Selma Weiser, of Charivari. She said her budget would be increased 30 percent, largely due to the opening of a new store on 57th Street, scheduled for April.

At John Wanamaker, budgets for European designer collections are up 15 to 20 percent, according to Rosemary McGeary, vice president, fashion director. “I’m looking for a lot of excitement based on what I saw in the couture collections,” McGeary said.

McGeary also said that private label purchases out of Europe would be up 30 percent, 5 percent of that due to Wanamaker’s scheduled Italian promotion this fall. McGeary said, “A lot of moderate sweater buyers left Hong Kong and came to Italy.” European manufacturers, she said, were becoming more competitively priced, setting lower minimums, and the styling in jacquards and intarsias was evident.

The store is developing private label programs with sweaters at moderate, better, junior and contemporary level, moderate and better-price dresses, moderate-price children’s, and better-price coats.

With Garfinckel’s designer floor undergoing renovation, Wendell Ward, vice president, designer apparel, said the Washington store would be buying with “considerable conviction” such designers as Ferragamo, Biagotti, Krizia, Missoni and Fendi.

Ward also said substantial increases would be made on Chanel and Sonya Rykiel purchases. “We’re stepping out rather dramatically,” he said.

Jordan Marsh, Boston, buyers are not restricted to a specific budget, according to Elliot Stone, president, but he estimated budgets would be up 15 to 20 percent. “The budget will be greater than last year, and consistent with the increases we’ve experienced,” he reported.

In the Midwest, retailers are increasing their open-to-buy as much as 20 percent for European resources. Despite slow and inconsistent deliveries, most are experiencing healthy spring sales that they expect to continue into fall.

At Marshall Field’s, Chicago, Philip Miller, chairman, said the store will continue buying Kenzo, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Chloe, Sonia Rykiel, Gianfranco Ferre and Basile, based on strong sales and their longtime relationship.

“We’re going to focus on a few selected collections and do them importantly. We believe Marshall Field’s positions has to be one of authority versus having unimportant selections and not representing any designer well and offering such great electronic cigarette coupons,” Miller said.

Field’s will increase its budget 10 to 15 percent, according to Miller. “There’s value available in Europe plus the designer and better updated sportswear areas are getting terrific growth,” he noted, pointing to designer shop sales gains of 30 percent and a 50 percent increase in the Contemporary area for February.

Unlike most Midwest retailers, Field’s European shipments were being delivered on schedule. However, Belkin, owner of the three Hattie’s stores, as well as one Krizia boutique and three Rive Gauche boutiques nationwide, said delivery problems have been “horrifying for us.” Pointing to strikes in Europe and pilferage during shipments, Belkin said difficulties occurred with every major line she carries.

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