Industry: A Rackful of Giants

Most of Manhattan is edging into summer this week, but along Seventh Avenue it is already autumn. Buyers from all over the U.S. are making their seasonal march into garment-district showrooms to rummage through, inspect and buy fall fashions. In a $13 billion industry that survives and thrives on change, the biggest change of all is in the corporate shape of the industry itself. Women's wear, a business of some 4,700 firms in which the mean has always been two or three partners with a $25,000 bankroll, is busy styling a whole new rackful of corporate giants.

No apparel giant...

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