France: Le Crocodile

They are known as "alligators" in the U.S. and "crocodiles" in 84 other countries. By any nationality or nomenclature, the French sports shirts, with a familiar-looking reptile embroidered on them, sell exceedingly well. Last year the Paris-based firm of Chemise Lacoste sold 1,700,000 of the shirts, 50% in France and the remainder in the crocodile-alligator world beyond. This month, as Lacoste's factories reopen after a vacation layoff, the order backlog has reached 200,000, and Chemise Lacoste has also gotten an unexpected bonus. Catherine Lacoste, 22-year-old daughter of Founder Rene Lacoste, last month outplayed the pros and, as an amateur,...

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