Group foresees color of things to comeColors come and go...

CONSUMER MARKETPLACE

January 16, 1993|By Michael Dresser

Group foresees color of things to come

Colors come and go. One year everything from dog dishes to duffel bags comes in jade. The next year jade is junk and you're feeding Fido out of a fuschia bowl.

Keeping track of these trends is the mission of the Color Marketing Group, an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit assemblage of designists and "colorists" that counsels manufacturers on which colors will sell and which will end up being peddled by some liquidator in a Third World country.

For 1993, Color Marketing Group is seeing red -- among other hot colors. According to CMG, these are the shades of things to come:

* Greens -- "the hottest color in every industry today."

* Browns -- "important again."

* "Jewel tones," -- whatever those are -- are in, but CMG says they will be richer, deeper and not as bright as in days gone by.

* "Earthen hues" are in. "They are far more reflective of nature's palette and far more complex than the browns, yellows and greens of the '60s."

* "Purple as an accent color and as part of color combinations." (Purple is especially hot for dinosaurs, as fans of the "Barney and His Friends" kids' show know.)

* Gentler whites and tinted, less "hi-tech" blacks.

And what's out? According to CMG, these are some colors to avoid in 1993:

* Neons -- except in some sportswear.

* "The 'mauving' of America is over. Mauve is out -- definitely out!"

* "Dusty" or "greyed" colors, such as dusty rose and dusty blue.

* Cool or cold greys.

And who will be listed in the 1994 "Hue's Who?" Color Marketing boldly looks ahead and sees colors you probably never knew existed (unless, perhaps, you were in San Francisco in the summer of 1967.)

Artemesia, a beautiful silver-green; mosaic, an inviting blue-green; muslin, an alternative to bleached white; loganberry, a luscious wild berry color; and silver aspen, a natural evolution of a sophisticated teal.

CMG had no prediction of what would become of more boorish teals.

Kal Kan offers new milk product for cats

"Cats Who Can't Drink Milk" is not a topic on Donahue. But it's "a growing concern for both humans and their pets," according to Kal Kan Foods.

And Baltimoreans will help the company determine how serious that concern is.

The Vernon, Calif., pet food manufacturer is promoting WHISKAS Ultramilk, a new product to deal with feline lactose intolerance -- a condition that prevents cats from digesting the sugars found in milk and other dairy products. Baltimore is one of seven U.S. markets where Kal Kan will roll out the product.

According to Kal Kan, WHISKAS Ultramilk contains almost no lactose but is "richer and creamier than regular milk." According to Kal Kan, its tests show that cats prefer Ultramilk by a 3-1 margin.

The product, which will be sold in supermarket pet food aisles, comes in a package resembling a single serving juice carton and will not require refrigeration.

Apparel prices down in Nov., firm says

U.S. apparel prices dipped in November, no matter what the government says, according to The NPD Group Inc., a market research firm in Port Washington, N.Y.

Last month, the government said the Consumer Price Index for clothing rose 0.9 percent in November, but NPD said this week that its data show a 2.2. percent decline for the month. The research group says its survey, based on actual purchases by a household panel of 16,000 participants, has consistently been running lower than the government index.

The discrepancy was widest in women's and girls' clothing, where the government listed a 1.1 percent gain and the NPD showed a 4.2 percent drop.

The key to the reported decline, NPD said, is that customers are shopping smarter. "Consumers are spending more money on apparel, but they are adjusting their buying habits to maximize their purchasing power," said NPD economist Roz Wells. "They are seeking out sale merchandise, trading down and buying more at discount stores.

According to NPD, unit volume (the raw number of items purchased) was up 9.2 percent in November, while dollar volume increased 6.8 percent.

On the face of it, the numbers seem to indicate a strong shift toward discounters and away from full-price chains. However, the December sales reports from major retail chains indicated that department store sales firmed up strongly last month.

Group collects clothes for homeless today

Towson Town Center and Project Hunger will be collecting clothes, coats, blankets and canned food today as part of a drive to help Baltimore-area shelters for the homeless.

The drive, which will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., is a repeat of a November drive that Project Hunger co-founder Steve Chaiken called "a great success." Mr. Chaiken and fellow University of Baltimore law student Marc Iorio founded Project Hunger a year ago to coordinate community resources to help the homeless.

Donations will be collected at Towson Town's customer service center on Level 2 and will be distributed to shelters such as Baltimore City Temple, Eutaw Center, Christopher Place, The Helping Up Mission, the Salvation Army and Bethel Outreach Center.

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