Newport News Introduces Cami

New from Newport News: Cami International, a 60-page women’s apparel spin-off. An undisclosed number of Cami books mailed in September. About 75% went to customers of New York-based Newport News, which is owned by Downers Grove, IL-based multititle cataloger Spiegel.

Why does a women’s apparel cataloger like Newport News spin off another women’s clothing book? According to executive vice president Geralynn Madonna, Cami mixes seasonal fashion “essentials” with modern classics. For instance, Cami shows how a bouclé blazer can be paired with classic trousers or a trendy, pencil-slim skirt. In contrast, Newport News sells more casual, lower-end fashion apparel such as jeans and tank tops.

And at $61, Cami’s average price point is double that of Newport News. “Whereas Newport News has a value positioning, we positioned Cami as better quality at higher price points, and that is succeeding,” Madonna says. While Cami targets middle-income, fashion-conscious women 25-50 years old, with an average age of 35, Newport News appeals to lower- and middle-income women in their 30s and early 40s.

So far, Cami’s average order is about 60% more than that of its sister catalog, which according to SRDS is $85. Although she wouldn’t cite specific figures, Madonna says response to the catalog is on plan. In fact, Madonna says that after losing ground on Sept. 11 and 12, following the terrorist attacks, Cami’s response was back on track by Sept. 13.

In addition to September and October mailings this fall, Cami plans to mail catalogs next spring and fall. For fall 2002, Madonna says, the catalog page counts will increase to between 76 and 84 pages. While Madonna says there are no firm plans for the book beyond fall ’02, “if Cami continues to do as well as it has, the brand will be expanded into all the markets that Newport News is in.” In addition to its core line of women’s apparel, Newport News sells jewelry and bedding through spin-off titles.

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