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SUPPLIERS KEEPING COUNT IN HUNT FOR SOMETHING NEW.

Byline: Leticia Leizens

NEW YORK-Sheet suppliers are sticking to some familiar thread-count numbers while keeping an eye out for what could be the next big thing to hit retail shelves.

"You can't fall in love with a product," said Shay Zamir, vice president of merchandising at Divatex. And while there is always a place for the 300-, 400-, 500- and 600-thread-count solid-color cotton programs, he said, there is also room for something new.

Last spring, Divatex launched its seaweed/cotton fiber blend, which the company will continue to offer to retailers this market. But new for Divatex are solid-color linen sheets, 100 percent or linen/cotton blends, sateens with color block designs and percale sheets.

"Linen is up and coming. We believe there is a customer for linen," Zamir said, adding that the price for sheets in this construction is higher than all-cotton or cotton/polyester blend. And for those retailers that want to take a break from their multitude of sateen offerings, Divatex is paving the way for the return of percales, in 200-thread-count.

At Home Source International, the bet is on 300-thread-count cotton blend programs -- one a 60 percent cotton and 40 percent soybean fiber, and the other a 75 percent cotton and 25 percent filament silk.

"It is truly cool in the summer and warm in the winter," said Phyllis Moore, vice president of bed sourcing at Home Source. When soybean fiber is blended with cotton, she said, it provides comfort and moisture absorption and adds luster. The sheets have a high color retention from light and laundering and are naturally antibacterial.

It's a story of luxury when it comes to cotton/silk blend sheets. When blended with cotton, silk -- the strongest of all natural fibers -- provides strength and light-fastness, said Moore, adding that the sheets are soft and lustrous.

Moore said the company is moving forward with its 100 percent bamboo collection introduced last market as well as sheets that repel liquids and stains with the help of technology from NanoTex.

This market will be the launch of Cannon bedding products. Li & Fung USA, licensee of the Cannon brands, is introducing three programs -- 220-thread-count 60 percent cotton/40 percent polyester, 250-thread-count all-cotton and 420-thread-count cotton sateen.

In Royal Velvet, Rick Platt, managing director of Official Pillowtex LLC, the consortium that owns the brand, said two sheet programs will be available. One is a 300-thread-count, 60 percent pima cotton/40 percent polyester blend and the other a 350-thread-count, combed cotton.

"We are not playing the thread-count game. The sheets have a fabulous feel and well-designed salable color palette," Platt said.

United Feather & Down, meanwhile, is complementing its goose down luxurious comforter with a coordinated sheet set. The sheets are of 300-thread-count cotton and are made in Italy.

Caption(s): United Feather & Down's sheets sets coordinate with its goose down comforter. / Linen sheets, in green, as well as sateens and percales, in neutral colors are among Divatex's new creations.
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Comment:SUPPLIERS KEEPING COUNT IN HUNT FOR SOMETHING NEW.
Author:Leizens, Leticia
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 10, 2005
Words:491
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