DIOR OUSTER IN JAPAN: Citing its zero-tolerance policy for substance use, Christian Dior said Wednesday that it immediately fired an executive in Japan who was arrested this week for alleged drug possession and importing. Guillaume Monnier, a vice president of marketing and communications for Dior's Japanese subsidiary, was arrested by Japanese police after customs officers intercepted a parcel said to contain cocaine, according to press reports. If convicted, Monnier could face a prison sentence and be banned from the country, the reports said.

BELK NET CLIMBS: Privately owned department store firm Belk Inc. said Wednesday that full-year 2007 earnings jumped 32.8 percent, driven by the Parisian acquisition and new store openings. For the year ended Feb. 3, earnings rose to $181.8 million from $136.9 million a year ago. Sales climbed 24.1 percent to $3.Dior68 billion from $2.97 billion in 2005, and same-store sales grew 4.5 percent. "We're particularly excited about the opportunity to bring together best practices from both Parisian and Belk to enhance and improve the customer experience in all of our stores," Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. The company said top-performing categories were women's and men's sportswear, shoes and cosmetics. During the year, Belk completed the sale of four Parisian stores to The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., and announced plans to sell seven additional Parisian stores. Belk also rebranded 39 Proffitt's and McRae's to Belk and completed the purchase of the assets of fine jewelry firm Migerobe Inc.

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