U.S. BUYERS UNFAZED BY SCANDAL

NEW YORK--Italy's bribery scandal hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of American stores headed to the Milan collections.
"We don't understand all the ramifications of what we've read," said Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president for fashion direction of Bloomingdale's. "We only know we have important businesses to protect. It's business as usual. We're sending the same number of people as originally planned and are looking forward to the collections."
Scott Bowman, chairman and chief executive of I. Magnin, said, "We continue to be very committed to the Italian designers and the fine products made in Italy. The recent scandals will not impact our continued support of Italian luxury products.
"Some of our largest followings are for the Italian designers," Bowman added. "That is a very, very important part of the I. Magnin franchise."
Barbara Weiser, executive vice president of Charivari, said, "It doesn't surprise me, but it certainly will not affect my travel plans or my buying. It doesn't really have anything to do with fashion as far as I can see. There are these kind of things happening all the time, but it's not relevant to my business."
"The Italian market has not been as important for me as it was in the Eighties, but for knits, it's still very important," she added.
One retailer who asked not to be named, said, "With so many people involved, it sort of dilutes the severity of it. It seems like it's a way of doing business."

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