RETAIL'S BIG A'S APPAREL, ACTION FIGURES

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Retailers looking to revive lagging apparel sales should remember two words: comfort and casualness.

A study for the Newspaper Association of America found most retailers don't talk to women about their everyday fashion concerns. Among those that do get the concept are Target Stores and R.H. Macy & Co.

Target parent Dayton Hudson Corp. is preparing an integrated marketing assault to breathe new life into its department store brands, starting with the Marshall Field's stores. Ads featuring three designers aim to relate fashion to the everyday customer.

Kmart Corp., meanwhile, is looking to Macy's expertise for help. The troubled retailer hired former Macy's East President-Merchandising Charles Chinni as its exec VP-merchandising.

While apparel may be struggling, there's plenty of action in toys-literally. Last week's American International Toy Fair brought out warriors, heroes, villains and masked avengers of every shape and color. They'll all be vying for a place on store shelves next to the action figure kings, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Kenner's new action figures tied to the summer release of "Batman Forever" are expected to be especially hot.

Details on Pages 35, 36 and 38.

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