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Retail focus paying dividends says AWI CEO

Nov '05
Research and development organization Australian Wool Innovation Limited's (AWI) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Len Stephens announced that it has been knocking on the doors of international retailers and it is paying dividends for Australian woolgrowers.

Speaking at the company's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Adelaide, Dr Stephens in the past 12 months AWI had tightened research timeframes to deliver innovative products to retailers, both overseas and in Australia.

He stated that the retail and fashion apparel industry, of which they are a part, is vibrant, innovative, fast moving, and low margin. They are the Australian Merino wool industry's ultimate customers and they are learning to run at the same speed as their customers.

Apparel businesses AWI is working with on innovative products and technologies include: Chinese menswear manufacturer and retailer Heilan; Japanese suit retailer Aoyama and manufacturer Nikke Japan; Chinese manufacturer Haitian and Lining, the largest sports brand in China; and young womenswear retailer Kookai Australia.

Dr Stephens said that a recent trip to New York to attend the annual retail fashion forum attended by CEOs of 200 of the leading retailers from around the world, had confirmed that AWI's approach was the right one.

He stated that after meeting with so many apparel industry decision makers, he is absolutely convinced that working with these major decision makers to get innovative products and technologies to market, is critical to getting more Australian Merino wool products onto retail shelves worldwide. And this is exactly what they are doing.

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