PARIS — Parfumeries Marionnaud — France’s largest perfumery chain with over 1,200 doors — is not actively for sale.

But that doesn’t mean a tender offer can’t be launched for it, the firm’s president, Marcel Frydman, told WWD Wednesday.

Frydman spoke amid growing rumors that the debt-heavy firm will change hands soon.

The firm’s sales last year were $1.31 billion, or 1.16 billion euros converted at current exchange.

Currently 77 percent of its shares are quoted on the French stock exchange, with the Frydman family holding the remaining stake plus 40 percent of Marionnaud’s voting rights.

“There are people who come to see us,” continued Frydman enigmatically.

— Jennifer Weil

Chantecaille in France

NEW YORK — Chantecaille Cosmetics openedits first counter at Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris Wednesday, the brand’s first such space in France. The circular white marble installation, which is manned by a Chantecaille associate, features the brand’s entire assortment of 250 skin care, color cosmetics and fragrance items. The 30-square-foot space is expected to generate 500,000 euros, or $590,600 at current exchange, during its first year. Of that figure, cosmetics is expected to generate 45 percent, skin care could account for 35 percent and fragrance is seen garnering 20 percent. “We wanted to bring the level of service that exists in the American specialty store to the classic French department store,” said founder Sylvie Chantecaille.

— Matthew W. Evans

Top L’Oréal Exhibit

PARIS — L’Oréal is sponsoring an exhibition of headdresses, called Parures de Tete, in Paris’ Dapper Museum. It runs through July 11, 2004.

About 100 African statues and masks were culled from Dapper’s permanent collection, other museums and private collections.

The firm’s involvement in the show reflects L’Oréal’s participation in the ethnic hair care category. Following its acquisition of Soft Sheen in 1998 and Carson in 2000, it became the leading maker of ethnic hair products. In June, L’Oréal opened its Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research in Chicago.— Brid Costello

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