Dualstar Consumer Products — the consumer products division of 'tween superstars Mary-Kate and Ashley's Dualstar Entertainment Group — and home fashions giant WestPoint Stevens today announced an agreement for production of sheets, towels, bedding and bath accessories, blankets and throws, and shower curtains to be sold at select Wal*Mart stores nationwide. The product will be introduced in stores in August for the 2001 back-to-school season.
The Mary-Kate and Ashley brand fashion and lifestyle program at Wal*Mart was launched in January 2001 with a full line of apparel and accessories and has seen explosive early success and exponential growth. The program, targeted to the 17 million-plus 'tween girls aged 5-14, is Wal*Mart's first foray into multi-product cross-merchandising. WestPoint Stevens is one of 16 manufacturers — including makers of sportswear, swimwear, sleepwear, eyewear, daywear, footwear, intimates, bodywear and body products, handbags, jewelry, stationery, hair products, cosmetics, posters and accessories — developing fashion product for the brand.
“The Mary-Kate and Ashley brand is the seal of approval for 'tweens and teens,” said Dualstar's CEO Robert Thorne. “Bedding and bath accessories from WestPoint Stevens bring the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand lifestyle into yet another important part of 'tween consumers' lives. As category leaders, Dualstar, WestPoint Stevens, and Wal*Mart are the perfect team to bring Mary- Kate and Ashley brand domestics to 'tweens.”
WestPoint Stevens President and Chief Operating Officer, M.L. “Chip” Fontenot, said, “Our extensive research on 'tweens, who make and influence buying decisions worth $300 billion annually, shows us that they recognize and demand brands. The Mary-Kate and Ashley brand is the top female brand for 'tweens. Our research also shows 95 percent of this age group are involved in choosing their own bedding and bath items and will be the ones to make the buying decisions for the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand bedding and bath products.”
“Mary-Kate and Ashley are both extremely involved in designing and approving the bedding and bath ensembles,” explained Nancy Golden, Vice President of Licensing for WestPoint Stevens. “They bring their keen fashion and design sense to the products we're developing. We can assure our consumers will get the Mary-Kate and Ashley personal touch.”
The Mary-Kate and Ashley brand has achieved almost $1 billion in sales to date. It is the number one fastest-growing girls fashion line, the number one girls video franchise, the number one celebrity-based videogame franchise, the number one girls book franchise, and the number one celebrity doll franchise in America, in addition to being the number one performing AOL Kids promotion in history — outperforming 'NSYNC and Pokemon combined — with their hugely powerful and popular website, mary-kateandashley.com. The Mary-Kate and Ashley brand multi-product line at Wal*Mart is poised to become the number one seller of 'tween fashion products, with imminent expansion of the brand to other age groups.
Mary-Kate and Ashley executive produce and star in an animated series for ABC on Disney's One Saturday Morning launching Fall 2001, and executive produce and star in a live-action series for Fox Family Channel launching June 2, 2001. Their magazine, mary-kateandashley, is the first-ever 'tween lifestyle magazine. Now preparing its third issue, it is selling through at a record-breaking pace and will grow to nearly one million copies per issue for back-to-school.
WestPoint Stevens Inc. is the nation's leading home fashions consumer products marketing company, with a wide range of bed linens, towels, blankets, comforters and accessories marketed under the well-known brand names of GRAND PATRICIAN, PATRICIAN, MARTEX, UTICA, STEVENS, LADY PEPPERELL and VELLUX, and under licensed brands including RALPH LAUREN HOME, DISNEY HOME, SANDERSON, DESIGNERS GUILD, JOE BOXER and GLYNDA TURLEY. WestPoint Stevens is also a manufacturer of the MARTHA STEWART bed and bath lines. WestPoint Stevens can be found on the World Wide Web at www.westpointstevens.com .
CONTACT: media, Toni M. Cauble, 706-645-4879, or investors, Lorraine Miller, 404-760-7180, both of WestPoint Stevens; or Michael Pagnotta, or Tonya Hurley, Media Relations both of Dualstar Entertainment Group, Inc., 718-222-1275/