IN THE MIDDLE

BAUERINTO GERMANY: In an effort to expand its international business, Spiegel Inc. said its Eddie Bauer subsidiary has entered into a new European joint venture, Eddie Bauer Germany.
Partners in the joint venture are Heinrich Heine GmbH and Sport-Scheck GmbH, both part of the Otton Versand Group.
The new venture, to be based in Munich, allows Eddie Bauer Germany to develop and operate Eddie Bauer stores and catalogs in Germany and other European countries. The company plans to open three stores in Germany in fall 1996; they will have a look similar to those in North America, and will feature men's and women's sportswear and accessories. Locations have not been set.
The Eddie Bauer label is not new to Germany. The retailer has operated a catalog business there for 18 months under a licensing agreement with Sport-Scheck.
Eddie Bauer, which has about 375 stores in the U.S., operates 26 stores in Canada and in 1994 launched Eddie Bauer in Japan through a catalog and stores. There are now six stores in Japan and another is slated for fall 1995.

FLORIDA TROUBLE: Rheinauer Inc., a three-store, upper-moderate women's specialty retailer based in Winter Haven, Fla., has filed for Chapter 11 protection to reorganize.
The company said the poor performance of two stores now closed--Rheinauer originally was a five-store operation--caused cash flow problems and led to the Chapter 11 filing in Tampa Bankruptcy Court.
Three remaining stores, all in Florida, in Ocala, Lakeland and Winter Haven, are profitable, said Charles A. Postler, counsel to the retailer. He said Rheinauer's has reached a financing agreement with its secured lender, Sun Bank, and would seek more permanent debtor-in-possession financing shortly.
The petition listed liabilities of $2.4 million and assets of $1.6 million. Largest unsecured creditors are: Corbin Limited, owed $38,000; JH Collectibles, $32,000, and Bank Corp. of Georgia, $32,000.

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