Coke to launch fashion range

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LONDON--The Coca-Cola Co. plans to launch a new line of casual clothing branded Coca-Cola Ware. The launch is anticipated for later this year. The company expects the line will initially launch in either the U.S. or U.K., with a staggered roll out in several other countries.

Bob Bertini, a company spokesman based in Atlanta, says the range is not an extension of the Coca-Cola brand but an extension of its licensing program. Clothing items are already included among more than 10,000 products marketed by more than 250 companies in 40 countries under license from Coca-Cola.

The new line, however, goes beyond T-shirts and baseball caps. "This is a casual fashion line that will fit in fully with our consumers' lifestyles,'' Mr. Bertini says. The range includes wovens, knits, sweaters and sportswear. It will be sold through department and specialty stores. The aim is to broaden the distribution beyond Coke's four dedicated merchandise shops in the U.S.

Mr. Bertini says Coca-Cola has people with fashion experience in-house who will handle the project, but declined to name any one executive in charge of the initiative. He says it's "premature'' to discuss whether an advertising agency will be assigned to the project.

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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