Friday, August 17, 2007

Next Inc. Procures Grits Inc. Apparel License.

Preliminary Launch with Key Specialty Retailer Extremely Well Received

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Next Inc. (OTCBB:NXTI) an emerging leader in the sportswear and promotional products industry today announced that they have procured an apparel license for Grits Inc., (Girls Raised In The South)

through BMI (Brand Management International), exclusive agent for Grits, Inc.

Grits Inc., is a multimillion-dollar merchandising company specializing in women's apparel. Founded by Deborah Ford, a lifelong Southerner and author of "Grits Guide to Life" (non-fiction book of the Year 2004) and "Puttin' On The Grits", Deborah's third book, (now in bookstores) "Grits Friends Are Forevah" has received rave reviews from critics. A fourth book on Southern men, "Bless Their Hearts", is due for release in October 2006.

Now residing in Fairhope, AL, Deborah is in demand as an "all occasion" speaker, including speeches on Southern Genteel Tradition, Southern Culture, or "how to eat your watermelon in a sun dress." Penguin Publishing named Deborah as one of ten Penguin authors to kick-off a new venture for the company, a speakers bureau managed by the publisher.

Deborah was recently recognized for her talent and accomplishments by being named a 2006 Honoree by the Southern Women's Committee of Fifty, at its eighth annual tribute event in Birmingham.

Joe Ferragina, the Company's Exec VP of Sales stated, "We're very pleased to have procured the Apparel license for Grits. The franchise has a very loyal fan base which has allowed the spawning of numerous derivatives of the brand. In a preliminary launch with one of our key specialty retailers, our Grits offerings sold extremely well. We're looking forward to leveraging the brand allowing our retailers to differentiate themselves in their respective markets."

As part of the Grit's license, Next will market and distribute "Primary Colors by Grits" as part of their collegiate offerings. This program is cross licensed between the various universities and Grits, Inc. and allows Next to expand their product offerings to their existing collegiate retailers. The addition of Primary Colors provides a major inroad to solidifying Next position in the growing ladies collegiate market. The slogans on the garments tie in Grits as well as the school colors and mascot. Example: "Southern Girls Know Their Primary Colors....Crimson and White" along with the University of Alabama logo.

Apparel deal is twice as nice.

Specialty retailer of men's and women's apparel, Kuhlman Company has inked two new retail leases totaling 2,600 square feet at 96 Grand Street in SoHo and 209 Columbus Avenue in the Upper West Side.

The CB Richard Ellis Tri-State Retail Services Group negotiated both long-term transactions
on behalf of the buildings' respective ownerships.

In the first transaction, Kuhlman committed to 1,800 s/f of ground floor space at 96 Grand Street, a six-story residential property situated between Mercer and Greene Streets in the heart of SoHo.

Allison Winters of CB Richard Ellis, along with co-broker Andrew Goldberg, negotiated the lease deal on behalf of the building's owner.

Kuhlman also signed a long-term lease for 800 s/f of retail space at 209 Columbus Avenue, one of the City's most sought-after shopping destinations. The new store is slated for a grand opening in Fall 2005.

CBRE's Eric Gelber represented the landlord with co-brokers Stephanie Moore and Andrew Goldberg. Peter Braus of Sierra Realty Corp represented the tenant.

Kuhlman has stores on Madison Ave., Rockefeller Center and Greenwich Village.

1998 buyer's guide and directory on team apparel.

As the sporting goods industry rushes toward the approaching millennium, trend spotters are keeping a sharp eye on the two developments of special import to the manufacturers and purchasers of athletic apparel: (1) the greater diversity in the purchasing options of the emerging athletic programs,

and (2) the changing approach to the burgeoning women's sports market.

The sporting goods manufacturers are, more than ever before, providing coaches and athletic directors with options that best fit their specific needs, while providing quality products at affordable prices.

Over the past decade, the needs and purchasing habits of our schools have sharply changed. Schoolmen who ordinarily ordered customized apparel are now facing budgetary and delivery restraints that afford less time for specialized apparel.

This naturally has opened the way for stock ordering. True, stock ordering has its downside in color and style limitations, but the savings in cost offers a distract upside.

Don Alleson Athletics (Rochester, NY) is concentrating more on stock business because it understands that there are athletic programs that won't have their budgets prepared in time to purchase custom apparel.

Todd Levine, vice president of marketing, points out that "Our stock business gives coaches the same high-quality product as well as customizes colors to their specifications, With custom jerseys, you might have to wait 4-6 weeks for delivery. If an athletic program is a little late getting its budget in line, it can still order from our stock line and customize the jerseys with their own colors.

"Over the past two or three years, we have replaced 40 lines of apparel with new upgraded lines that have given our customers a higher price-value ratio."

This practice - giving the customer an opportunity to purchase both custom and stock apparel - is the industry's way of promoting its diversity With so many options to choose from, coaches must rely on the experts to help steer them in the right direction.

Tom Doyle, vice president of Information/Research for the National Sporting Goods Association, acknowledges that the purchasing business is all about relationships:

"It is important for coaches to foster a good relationship with their suppliers. There are much fewer suppliers than there were 10-15 years ago, and the chances are that the coaches will have to deal with a supplier for a long time."

Japan: Hokuriku Intensifying Non-Apparel Use

The Hokuriku weaving district is well-known for its lightweight polyester fabrics for women's apparel; however, it is going to make a shift in its structure by developing nonapparel applications because of the continued stagnation in that segment. Firms in this producing district have launched into

a structural conversion, intensifying sportswear, innerwear and uniforms instead of fashion wear. Along with these movements, these firms have expanded the scope of their business into the non-apparel segment including interior goods and industrial materials, based on the technological capabilities that these firms have nurtured for many years. Five years ago, Marubeni Corporation closed its branch in Fukui, one of the centers in the Hokuriku weaving district, but it reopened this branch last fall. The Fukui branch will do business with a focus on the nonapparel segment. Of Marubeni's Hokuriku business, the non-apparel segment already accounts for 60%.