US Postal Service to launch clothing line

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First the end of Saturday mail. Now, a new clothing line.

The U.S. Postal Service is taking drastic steps to make itself relevant and profitable these days.

The cash-strapped mail-delivery agency announced plans Tuesday to launch a line of all-weather apparel and accessories sometime next year.

Move over, upscale North Face. Or should it be the grittier Carhartt brand that worries?

The Postal Service chose “Rain Heat & Snow” as its brand name, alluding to its unofficial motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Only men’s apparel and accessories will be available initially, but the agency plans to add a women’s line in the future, it said Tuesday.

The Postal Service signed a licensing agreement with Cleveland-based Wahconah Group to produce the new line, which will include jackets, hats, footwear and clothing that allows integration of modern technology devices such as iPods, agency spokesman Roy Betts said.

Betts said the Postal Service plans to sell its apparel and accessories in premium department stores and specialty stores, but not at post offices.

The agency decided to launch a clothing line as a way to promote and strengthen its brand, as well as to generate money, he said.

The licensing agreement allows the Postal Service to collect royalty fees for its product line without investing money to produce it, Betts said.

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