Mossimo strikes sophisticated pose

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California sportswear company Mossimo continues its two-year turnaround with a new campaign and a Web site.

The spring campaign from Toth Brand Imaging, Concord, Mass., breaks in March lifestyle and fashion magazines such as FHM, In Style, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. The effort, with spending estimated at $5 million to $10 million, includes print and outdoor. A new Web site is due this spring.

The new creative builds upon the fall campaign, said Mike Toth, the agency's president and creative director. It features couples playing and lounging outdoors, modeling Mossimo sportswear.

"It looks more modern and sophisticated . . . [but] the brand is always going to have a sporty cachet about it," said Mossimo Giannulli, Mossimo chairman.


The line has evolved in the last few years, adding swimwear, tailored apparel and neckwear for men. Children's clothing and home textiles may be added, Mr. Giannulli said. Mossimo plans to add men's and women's eyewear this spring under a licensing agreement with Italian eyewear marketer Marcolin.

The spring campaign is only Toth's second for Mossimo. President-CEO Edwin Lewis enlisted the agency last year to revamp the brand's image.

Mr. Lewis, a former Tommy Hilfiger executive, was lured out of retirement in December 1998 to help Mossimo out of a slump that followed its initial public offering in 1996. The company went public at approximately $50 per share, but inventory management and merchandising problems brought on by rapid expansion dragged the stock down to about $1 per share.

Thanks to financial restructuring and an improving apparel market, Mossimo improved sharply during the past year, showing earnings for the first time in nearly three years. Third-quarter results showed an 85% increase in net sales over the same period in 1998, and net income rose to $1 million following a $3.4 million loss a year earlier.

Mossimo's planned Web site is expected to go live April 1, but will not offer e-commerce.

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