WEST SIDE STORY: The mayor of London has given the green light to expand the city’s congestion charge zone westward across the capital by late 2006 — rolling into such key shopping areas as Knightsbridge, the King’s Road and Westbourne Grove. The proposed expansion plan in May prompted a backlash from businesses in the affected areas. The department store group John Lewis Partnership, which owns the Peter Jones flagship in Sloane Square, blamed a 9 percent sales drop at its Oxford Street store last year on the existing charge zone. At present, drivers must pay 5 pounds, or $9.14 at current exchange, to drive during the week in the central London zone, which includes the shopping areas of Oxford Street and Bond Street.

DAN RIVER LAYOFFS: Bankrupt textile manufacturer Dan River Inc. said Wednesday it will be closing two more facilities at a cost of about 375 jobs. Calvin Barnhardt, director of human resources for the Danville, Va.-based firm, said a finishing and sheet-sewing plant in Danville and a warehouse in Portsmouth, Va., will close later this year. After those closings, the firm will employ about 4,100 people. Dan River filed for Chapter 11 protection in March.

PRADA’S PROMISE: Prada may have sold control of Church’s but the shoemaker could revert to full Prada ownership, according to a few well-buried lines in the Italian luxury goods group’s recently published annual report for 2003. Prada sold 55 percent of Church’s to Swiss group Equinox Investments late last year, generating a gain of 25.8 million euros, or $29.2 million at 2003’s average exchange rate. But Prada’s annual report states Equinox subsidiary Tower S.à r.l. has an option to sell the 55 percent Church’s stake to Gipafin S.à r.l., a parent company of Prada Holding N.V. Prada said the put option is exercisable “at a predetermined price” if within “a certain date” Church’s board hasn’t started the procedures for a planned Church’s initial public offering, or if one year after this established date the IPO hasn’t been finalized. A Prada spokesman could not comment further on the details or timing of the transaction, but weekly magazine Il Mondo reported the option could carry a time frame of four years, dating back to the original investment in 2003.

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