Seven is lucky number for Brooklyn Park store NORTH COUNTY

November 09, 1992|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

Take a quick look through the clothing racks at the shop in Brooklyn Park and you might think Fashion Bug or JC Penney, even Hecht's or Macy's. Then take a look at the price tags.

It might be a gimmick, but it's one that promises to save customers money.

At the One Price Clothing Store in Brooklyn Park Plaza, everything is $7. Rayon pants and blouses in colorful prints, ribbed-knit stretch pants, cotton sweaters, oversized blouses, stirrup pants, dropped-waist dresses -- all for $7. Socks are five pairs for $7. Belts are two for $7. Barrettes are three for $7.

The Spartanburg, S.C., chain opened its first store in Anne Arundel County last summer on Ritchie Highway, part of a major thrust into the Baltimore and Pennsylvania markets.

Since it started eight years ago, capitalizing on the growing popularity of the "off price" concept, One Price Clothing Stores, Inc. has grown to more than 450 shops in 19 states. Its founders targeted teen-agers and older women in lower and middle income ranges who wanted stylish, contemporary clothing.

To permit the store to offer discounts, buyers from California and New York purchase in bulk at heavily discounted prices from a mix of manufacturers, importers and other suppliers.

They buy low by purchasing late in the retail selling season and by taking advantage of overproduction, order cancellations and manufacturers' needs to liquidate stock, said Lisa Reagan, district sales manager for Baltimore and Richmond.

One Price carries women's sportswear, pants, blouses, shirts, skirts, sweaters, jackets, shorts and accessories, sizes 3 to 44, and some children's clothing, sizes 4 to 16X and 7 to 14.

Store manager Mary Hons described her merchandise as basics that are easily mixed and matched.

"You can put different pieces together for a complete outfit, and you're set to go Saturday night," she said.

Much of the merchandise comes from large retailers such as JC Penney or Wal-Mart, Ms. Reagan said. All of it is new. Unlike at other discount outlets, customers won't find seconds or irregulars, she said. New clothing is shipped in every week.

Most items sell in other specialty and department stores for at least $15 and more. Ms. Hons said the ribbed-knit turtlenecks that have been selling so quickly can be found in department stores for about $25.

"You could walk out on New Year's and nobody would know the difference, that you didn't buy this at Hecht's," said Ms. Reagan, picking out a pair of black rayon pants and a gold lame top.

When the store opened last summer, sales were brisk before slowing somewhat after school started, Ms. Hons said. But she expects sales to pick up again in the next week or so.

"With Christmas coming up, we won't have any problems," she said. "The problem will be keeping everything stocked."

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