'Titanic' Necklace Is Jewel in J. Peterman's Crown

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Replicas of the "Heart of the Ocean" necklace that Kate Winslet wore in the movie "Titanic" apparently sparkled on mail pieces. The J. Peterman Co. already has had to put customers on short periods of back order while it awaits its twice-weekly shipments.

"We're at or ahead of expectations, and we're making them fast and furious," said Arnie Cohen, president and chief operating officer at J. Peterman. He would not release exact sales figures.

A shipment earlier this week shipment was expected to last for about a day and a half, he said, when another short back-order period was anticipated until the next shipment was scheduled to arrive. The $195 necklace is cast from the original movie prop and is made by a leading costume jeweler.

The timeliness of the Academy Awards, the popularity of the movie and the exclusive rights to market a replica of the prop prompted J. Peterman, Lexington, KY, to offer the necklace in its first single-item direct-to-consumer mailer.

The mailer arrived in homes March 25, two days after the original planned in-home date. However, with advance publicity, the company sold a group of necklaces before customers received the mailers, Cohen said. The company also is offering the necklace through a blow-in in its spring catalog.

The movie's continued strength at the box office and the necklace's current sales pattern indicate that demand will continue to rise, Cohen said.

"It hasn't peaked yet. We're watching the curve," he said.

Separately, as J. Peterman continues to work toward its goal of opening 50 new retail stores and 20 new outlets in the next five years, it has chosen TradeWind brand software from STR Inc., Cleveland, as its in-store software system. The system provides tools to process sales transactions, manage inventory and schedule employees. It also has special ordering capabilities, customer profiling and corporate data warehouse tools.

"We were looking for an in-store system that would allow us to focus on our business and minimize our efforts on software," said John Rice, J. Peterman's chief financial officer.

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