Tuesday, March 01, 2005

WestPoint Stevens Captures Charisma License for Entry Into Ultimate Luxury Bed and Bath

Bedding Industry

Source: Press Release

WEST POINT, Ga., Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- WestPoint Stevens Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: WSPT - News; announced today that the Company has gained what is perhaps the ultimate luxury brand for bed and bath in a licensing agreement to market the famed Charisma® line. Under WestPoint Stevens, Charisma's placement will be marked by exclusivity, with limited distribution to select department stores and upscale catalogs.

"Over time, Charisma has become the absolute standard of luxury for bed and bath products in the home furnishings industry, with well-established brand recognition by consumers. Few brands have had the luxury-market impact that Charisma has shown," said President - Bed and Bath Robert B. (Bob) Dale. "It's a brand so key that we're launching an entire new division -- Charisma Home -- to optimize the opportunities it offers.

"In taking Charisma forward, we will stay true to the brand's unique concept of properties while enhancing its position as the aspirational brand for discriminating consumers whose lifestyle embraces real luxury," Mr. Dale added.

Basic Bedding Division President Arthur (Art) Birkins sees Charisma as a significant boost to the luxury level of that business. "Over the past few years, there's been a surge in higher-end products in basic bedding. There's a solid trend toward building a better bed that starts with pads and pillows, and consumers look for higher thread counts and upscale fabrics and constructions. Charisma offers a great opportunity to meet these demands."

At WestPoint Stevens, Charisma Home will encompass fashion bedding and decorative pillows, bath and bath accessories and a range of basic bedding that includes blankets, throws and down and down-alternative products. The anticipated Charisma shipping date is fourth quarter 2005.

"As we continue to see the whole bedding and bath market trading up in constructions and design, Charisma is ideal to be positioned as a 'best in class' line, with super-premium product and price points," said Judi Alexander, who will head up the new division as Vice President - Charisma Home."

Ms. Alexander has been with the Company for eight years, most recently as Vice President - Marketing for the Basic Bedding Division. "She brings impressive marketing and product development experience to lead the Charisma Home Division, with a solid background in the luxury market from her work with utility products in our Ralph Lauren Home® license, another valuable luxury line," noted Mr. Dale. "Of special value to Charisma Home is her expertise in market research and targeting specific consumers, such as those who seek the luxury of Charisma.

Before joining WestPoint Stevens, she was part of the original launch team for the introduction of Calvin Klein Home in 1995.

Jeff Cohen, Co-Chairman of Earthbound LLC, which chose WestPoint Stevens to market Charisma, emphasized that WestPoint's reputation for quality product and established success with other well-known licenses were key factors in leading Earthbound to place the prestigious Charisma license with the home fashions giant. "WestPoint's own flagship Martex® brand is an institution in this business -- a quality product carefully built and marketed over many years -- and the Company's success with licenses such as Ralph Lauren Home and Disney Home® shows its expertise in recognizing and maximizing brand potential. We are confident that WestPoint Stevens will create a whole new level of consumer demand for Charisma." The Charisma trademark is owned by Official Pillowtex LLC.

WestPoint Stevens Inc. is the nation's premier home fashions consumer products company, with a wide range of bed linens, towels, blankets, comforters and accessories marketed under the well-known brand names GRAND PATRICIAN, PATRICIAN, MARTEX, ATELIER MARTEX, BABY MARTEX, UTICA, STEVENS, LADY PEPPERELL, SEDUCTION, VELLUX and CHATHAM -- all registered trademarks owned by WestPoint Stevens Inc. and its subsidiaries -- and under licensed brands including RALPH LAUREN HOME, DISNEY HOME and GLYNDA TURLEY.

Luxury Bedding