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In Brief: McComb’s Compensation… Talbots Stock Rises… Cotton Prices to Incre

William L. McComb, chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., pulled in total compensation of $6.3 million last year, his first full year on the job,...

– MCCOMB’S COMPENSATION: William L. McComb, chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., pulled in total compensation of $6.3 million last year, his first full year on the job, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. His pay included a salary of $1.3 million, stock and option awards valued at $4.5 million, a bonus of $325,000 and other compensation, including $6,634 in apparel and more than $113,000 for an apartment the company leases for him. McComb took over the helm of the vendor in November 2006, and received total compensation of $944,000 for that period. Michael Scarpa, chief operating officer, saw his compensation rise 8.4 percent to $2 million. Andrew Warren, chief financial officer, earned $1.3 million, and Jill Granoff, executive vice president for direct brands, received $1.4 million. Warren joined the company last year. There was no compensation listed for Granoff for 2006.

-TALBOTS STOCK RISES: Talbots Inc. stock gained 15.7 percent to close at $13.89 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, a day after the company revealed a three-year plan to turn around its struggling business. Trudy Sullivan, president and chief executive officer, intends to revamp the specialty retailer to appeal to a new generation, with timeless classics. In a note, Todd Slater, retail analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, said the primary goal of the merchandise team is to become more “design” oriented.

-COTTON PRICES TO INCREASE:
Global cotton prices are forecast to increase 10.1 percent this year, compared with last year’s 4.4 percent boost, with demand from Asian nations making up for the economic slowdown in rich Western nations, said a report from the United Nations Commission for Africa. The projection bodes well for African cotton-exporting nations such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali that are positioned to supply expanding Asian economies like China and India. As a result, the agency expects African economies to grow by more than 6 percent this year, following last year’s 5.8 percent expansion. The report warns, however, that there’s a risk in 2008 “of a sharper slowdown in the U.S. economy and a fall in global commodity demand and prices.” The study said Chinese cotton imports have contributed to “41 percent of the growth of cotton exports of all cotton-producing countries in Africa,” and contributed to an estimated 1.1 percent economic growth of these countries.