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MARIPOSA REDUCES SCOF FLATWARE PRICES; LOWER PRICE POINTS, STREAMLINED ASSORTMENT TO EXPAND DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS.

MANCHESTER, Mass.-Mariposa, the exclusive distributor of SCOF stainless-steel flatware from France, has reduced its wholesale and suggested retail prices by 10 to 15 percent.

This is in an effort to increase SCOF's market share in the U.S. and expand the company's retail channels of distribution for the product.

"SCOF is the premiere colored-handle stainless-steel flatware line on the market today," said Mariposa president Livia Cowan in a statement. "However, many imitators have appropriated the look using lesser materials. We had to find a way to make our distribution relationship with France more efficient in order to reduce the price point without compromising quality."

New wholesale price points for a five-piece place setting range from $34 to $198.

The market for colored-handle stainless-steel flatware has been increasing, while Mariposa's share of that market has decreased, according to Candi Reynolds, vice president of sales and marketing. Although Reynolds did not have an exact figure for SCOF's market share in the U.S., she said, "Our goal is to expand it significantly. We hope to increase it at least by 10 percent."

Mariposa and SCOF have re-merchandised the product line. The distributor previously offered 22 patterns of SCOF flatware but tightened the assortment when it realized that approximately 85 percent of its business was derived from only 11 patterns, Reynolds said. The edited number of patterns stocked in the U.S. led to greater inventory efficiency and enabled Mariposa to pass on the savings in the form of a price reduction.

In addition to lowering the price points, Mariposa relaxed its dealer policies as a way to expand its distribution channels. In the past, retailers were required to maintain specific sample and stock levels in their storefronts. The company is now encouraging retailers to focus on key items or specific patterns, if they prefer, and cross-merchandise SCOF flatware with other Mariposa products, such as its Brillante aluminum serveware line, Ceramica Fina collection of Italian ceramic dinnerware and Bellini and Vidrio glassware lines.

"We are proud of our position in the tabletop marketplace and hope to better meet the needs of our retailers and consumers with an enhanced strategic alliance with SCOF," said Reynolds. "We will encourage retailers to ... reposition the brand as a U.S. market leader."

Mariposa's primary channels of distribution include specialty stores, specialty department stores such as Barney's New York and a few catalog and Internet retailers. The company wants to grow while maintaining the exclusivity of the product, said Reynolds. "We want to keep it on the upper end."

Mariposa will exhibit new products at trade shows this month in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
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Comment:MARIPOSA REDUCES SCOF FLATWARE PRICES; LOWER PRICE POINTS, STREAMLINED ASSORTMENT TO EXPAND DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS.
Author:Zisko, Allison
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 3, 2000
Words:441
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