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 CHICAGO, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Spiegel, Inc., the nation's leading catalog retailer, launches today an innovative line of fashionable apparel designed for African-American women, the company's latest niche marketing venture.
 Known as "E STYLE(TM)," the new line of apparel and accessories is an alliance between Spiegel and Johnson Publishing Company's Ebony Magazine, the premier general interest periodical serving African Americans. More than one million African-American consumers will receive the E STYLE catalog when it debuts in September.
 The 64-page catalog contains a complete line of dress and casual apparel and fashion accessories, including shoes, jewelry and millinery. Consistent with the company's marketing strategy, catalog merchandise is value-priced, with dress and suit prices starting at $99. Selected merchandise for the home also will be featured. A second catalog will be distributed in late fall '93.
 "In today's fragmented marketplace, where there is no single, monolithic consumer, we have to recognize the diversity of consumer attitudes and fashion requirements," said John J. Shea, Spiegel's vice chairman, president and chief executive officer. "To stay close to our customers, we must listen to their issues as a means of providing better service and value."
 Georgia Shonk-Simmons, Spiegel's vice president, merchandise, described E STYLE as a genuine product "breakthrough" because it reflects an entirely new approach to serving the fashion needs of African-American consumers. "We talked to thousands of our customers and asked how we could better serve them," said Shonk-Simmons. "Our customer research showed us a niche segment with special fit and fashion tastes that are not presently being fulfilled. E STYLE is our response to what our customers told us they desire."
 Unlike conventional garments, created and sized for mass appeal, apparel in the E STYLE line is designed and tailored specifically to meet the fashion tastes and fit needs of African-American women. To create this new standard, Spiegel conducted comprehensive qualitative and quantitative research among African-American consumers to determine style, color and sizing preferences. Spiegel's partnership with Ebony Magazine has provided additional insight into the women's segment of the black consumer market.
 "For more than 50 years, Ebony magazine has built its reputation on accurately capturing and conveying the attitudes, aspirations and interests of African-Americans," said Linda Johnson Rice, president and chief operating officer of Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company. "Our intimate knowledge of the black consumer market combined with Spiegel's catalog retailing expertise will make E STYLE a stunning success."
 The African-American consumer market holds significant business potential because of key demographic trends. With a population growth rate twice the national average, black consumers command in excess of $270 billion in yearly purchasing power, an estimated $7.5 billion of which is spent on retail and catalog fashion.
 The E STYLE catalog launch will be supported by an aggressive marketing and promotion campaign, including an exclusive catalog cause-marketing collaboration with United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Spiegel will donate a percentage of every E STYLE purchase made with a Spiegel First Consumers National Bank (FCNB) Preferred(sm) Charge to UNCF, with a minimum corporate contribution of $100,000. This effort will include the introduction of a new companion credit card, an E STYLE FCNB Preferred(sm) Charge, to enhance services offered by the catalog.
 Spiegel, Inc. is the nation's leading multi-channel specialty retailer. The company and its subsidiaries market fashionable apparel and home furnishings through approximately 70 catalogs and more than 275 retail stores.
 Ebony Magazine is the flagship publication of Johnson Publishing Company, the diversified publishing, cosmetics and broadcast entertainment enterprise. The company has long been one of the nation's most prominent black-owned firms.
 -0- 9/1/93
 /CONTACT: Ann Morris of Spiegel, 708-769-2590/

CO: Spiegel, Inc.; Ebony magazine ST: Illinois IN: REA PUB SU:

PS -- NY039 -- 7940 09/01/93 11:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 1, 1993

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