– DOW DROPS: Stocks fell sharply Wednesday as oil prices soared and investors anticipated mediocre same-store sales results, which are released today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 200 points, closing at 12,814.35, while the broader S&P 500 sank 1.8 percent to 1,392.57. The S&P Retail Index slid 1.6 percent to end at 402.63. Among the largest retail declines, shares of Limited Brands Inc. fell 2.4 percent to $17.62, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. declined 4 percent to $12.37 and Macy’s Inc. declined 2.6 percent to close at $24.73.
– ANOTHER ESCADA BIDDER?: Tchibo Holding’s Michael Herz is considering taking a stake in Escada, according to a report in German financial daily Handelsblatt. Herz is said to have been granted access to Escada’s books after having talks with major Escada shareholder Rustam Aksenenko. The newspaper said Herz, like the global equity firm Apax — which officially broke off negotiations with Escada in March — is also eyeing former Hugo Boss chief executive Bruno Sälzer as Escada’s new head. Herz is a co-owner of Maxinvest International Inc., which owns the coffee roaster and retailer Tchibo as well as a major stake in Beiersdorf. The German paper said Escada and the Herz family declined to comment.
– JAEGER LE COULTRE TRIES U.S. RETAIL: Fine watch brand Jaeger Le Coultre is opening its first stores in the U.S. The first will open on June 1 in Boca Raton, Fla. The opening is in partnership with jeweler Les Bijoux, located at 306 North Plaza Real. The second will open later this year at 9490 B Brighton Way in Beverly Hills. Jaeger, owned by Compagnie Financière Richemont, celebrates its 175th anniversary this year and focuses on horological technology. It is best known for its Reverso watch featuring a flip-over case.