NEW YORK — Benetton’s largest U.S. retail licensee is grabbing up more square footage.

According to sources, Iraklis Karabassis, owner of about 70 Benetton stores in the U.S., has bought up a cluster of Benetton units in Manhattan. Karabassis, who is based in Washington, D.C., and Benetton officials could not be reached for comment Friday to learn whether Benetton is more aggressively trying to transfer ownership of its stores to individual entrepreneurs in the U.S. and elsewhere. Sources said Karabassis has bought at least six stores in Manhattan.

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