ARMANI CASA EXPANDS: Giorgio Armani said Wednesday he plans to open three Casa stores in Dubai, Jakarta and Bahrain by the end of 2008. In the first nine months of the year, the designer has opened seven stores dedicated to his home division in Kuwait City, Beijing, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur, while in Shanghai and Moscow, Armani/Casa has added a new store to its existing retail presence in each city. The company currently has 80 Casa stores in 45 countries.Strategic areas for the development of Armani/Casa are China, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

CYGNE CHAIRMAN RESIGNS: Cygne Designs Inc. chairman Bernard Manuel has resigned. The firm said the resignation “was not the result of any disagreement with the company or its management.” Cygne Designs is a wholesaler of branded and private label women’s denim and sportswear that has discontinued developing new lines and is focusing on selling existing inventory. In the second quarter ended July 31, Cygne incurred a net loss of $16.6 million and its sales fell 62.1 percent to $12.6 million after it lost two major customers.

ONLINE RULES: The European Commission on Wednesday proposed legislation that would protect consumers during online transactions, from requiring goods to be delivered within 30 days to facilitating returns. “We need an EU-wide safety net of rights so consumers have the security they need to shop around with peace of mind,” said consumer commissioner Meglena Kuneva. The law is designed to favor shopping around in different EU countries, where prices can differ greatly on products from fragrances to clothes. About 150 million Europeans shop on the Internet. The rules have to be approved by the 27 EU countries and the European parliament.

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