ARMANI'S LONDON LANDMARK: Club 21, the Ong family fashion subsidiary, has confirmed it will open Europe's largest Giorgio Armani boutique in mid-September in London. The 12,500-square-foot store on Sloane Street will be more than three times larger than the designer's existing London shop and will carry Armani's entire women's and men's wear collections, a spokeswoman said. The store, which will be designed by Giancarlo Ortelli, will set the tone for all future Armani boutiques worldwide, with a loft-like feeling and clean, uncluttered environment. Materials will include walls of clear glass, and Portman stone and oak wood floors. Fixtures will be in grayed walnut and will re-create the forms of household furniture, with wardrobes, screens and chests of drawers.

BIDDING FIESTA: El Corte Ingles, Spain's largest department store chain, has jumped into the bidding for rival Galerias Preciados with a $249.79 million (30 billion peseta) offer and a plan to retain 5,200 of the retailer's 7,300 employees. El Corte Ingles made the offer to the Spanish government, which is Galerias's largest creditor, and is orchestrating the sale of the 30-store chain. The Spanish Trade Ministry now says it hopes to find a buyer by June 7; it rejected two bids in February as being insufficient. Both earlier bidders also recently increased their offers.

NOT FOR SALE...YET: Guy Laroche, whose losses narrowed last year to $8.6 million on sales of $69.6 million, will not be put on the block until the house has been turned around, said Bruno Bich, the chairman of Groupe Bic, Laroche's majority shareholder, at Bic's annual meeting in Paris this week. Laroche director Jean-Jacques Schmoll told WWD that the house will continue to have losses this year due to investment costs including a reorganization of the sales network as well as the design studio--to accommodate Michel Klein's new role of designing the Laroche diffusion ready-to-wear starting with spring-summer 1996. Klein already designs Laroche haute couture and a line of luxury rtw called Guy Laroche Couture. Schmoll expects Laroche to break even in 1996 and return to profitability in 1997.

OUTLET EN FRANCAIS: Fresh from opening its first European outlet mall in Cheshire Oaks, UK, in April, McArthur/Glen Europe said that it plans to open its first mall on the continent in Troyes, France, in early October. McArthur has invested $20 million in the shopping center, which will measure about 133,300 square feet and will be named Boutiques des Fabricants. The center will feature about 40 stores, mainly French and European brands, and will generate annual sales of $60 million based on the estimated traffic of one million shoppers, the company claims.

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