THEFT AT MCQUEEN: Alexander McQueen has become the latest victim of fashion thieves raiding London shops and studios. On Dec. 27, thieves broke into McQueen’s East End headquarters, stealing computers and some handbag samples from the fall 2008 season. A spokeswoman said the theft was not a major one, and the computers contained mostly administrative, rather than creative, data. She said the company was looking at closed circuit TV footage and working with the police. In September, thieves broke into Christopher Kane’s studio, and stole a large part of his spring 2008 collection as well as the designer’s laptop. Since the beginning of last year, London stores including Marc Jacobs, Asprey, Roger Vivier, Luella, Brora, Anya Hindmarch, Sonia Rykiel and Frost French have been ransacked by thieves on mopeds. It’s unclear, however, whether the store thieves and the studio thieves are working together.
MAUS BUILDS GANT STAKE: Maus Frères SA continues to consolidate its stake in Gant after last month launching a 5.2 billion kronor, or $809.3 million at current exchange, hostile bid for the Swedish sportswear firm, which was promptly rejected by a majority of Gant shareholders. Maus said Thursday it had increased its share in Gant to 23.7 percent by buying shares from an institutional investor. Maus, the Swiss retailer that owns the Lacoste brand, previously held an 18.1 percent stake in Gant. Maus’ offer for Gant, which operates more than 300 stores, is good through Jan. 11. Initially Maus snapped up 12.5 percent of Gant on the Stockholm Stock Exchange on Dec. 11 before making a cash bid of 310 kronor, or $48.25, a share for the rest of the firm.