BIG TIME: French retailer Carrefour SA last week said second-quarter revenues grew 6.8 percent to $21.62 billion, or 19.14 billion euros, from $21.04 billion, or 18.62 billion euros, in the year-earlier period. Boosted by the inclusion of Easter in the quarter, unlike last year, the gain was the firm’s first quarterly increase after the impact of currency fluctuations in the last six quarters. It beat analysts’ $21.51 billion, or 19.04 billion euros, consensus forecast. The second-largest retailer in the world after Wal-Mart, Carrefour said that including Easter in the quarter elevated sales by 1.2 percent. On a like-for-like basis, sales advanced 3.6 percent, with new store openings accounting for 3.2 percent of growth. Carrefour has said it is shooting for 5 percent full-year sales growth. — Robert Murphy

WESTON’S HOME STRETCH: Galen Weston, the Canadian billionaire who has his heart set on buying Selfridges, is now in possession of 127,924,586 shares — or 82.8 percent of the existing issued share capital of the retailer. However, a spokeswoman for Oxford Acquisitions Ltd. — Weston’s acquisitions vehicle — said his offer would be further extended and would remain open for acceptances until 1 p.m. London time today. Although Weston officially won the company when he had 50 percent of shares in hand, U.K. takeover regulations state that a bidder must win 90 percent of a company’s shares to have the offer declared unconditional. As reported, Weston’s offer of $1.14 billion for the company was recommended by the Selfridges board. — Samantha Conti

NEW LOOK UP NEXT?: Has New Look, the high-street retail chain, become the latest hot property in the U.K.? It appears so. On Friday, the company issued a statement saying that Tom Singh, a non-executive director and shareholder of reference in the company, had appointed independent financial advisers to conduct a “strategic review of options” for his family’s shareholding. The statement came on the heels of London stock market rumors that a takeover bid was in the works. New Look declined further comment. The company, which designs, manufactures and distributes its collections in more than 700 stores in the U.K. and France, is best known for its trendy looks and quirky sense of humor. — S.C.POOR LITTLE RICH FOLK: While they may not be getting irate calls from bank managers just yet, many of France’s richest business people are getting poorer, according to French magazine Challenges. It attributed declines to the economic slowdown and a weak stock market. Luxury magnates, however, made a strong showing in the magazine’s annual ranking of the country’s 500 biggest fortunes, occupying four of the list’s top five positions. L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt was No. 1 with a personal fortune of $15.19 billion, or 13.43 billion euros. Bernard Arnault, head of luxury empire LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, slipped one place from last year’s list and comes in third with a personal piggy bank worth $11.55 billion, or 10.22 billion euros. The Pinault family, headed by Pinault-Printemps-Redoute mogul François Pinault, comes fourth with a fortune worth $5.14 billion, or 4.54 billion euros. The Hermès family trotted into fifth place with a cash pile of $4.11 billion, equivalent to 3.63 billion euros. — Brid Costello

PICTURE PERFECT: After Louis Vuitton’s blockbuster collaboration with Takashi Murakami on accessories, it was only a matter of time before other fashion houses would follow suit and join forces with Japanese artists. Case in point: Piazza Sempione has hooked up with Naoto Kawahara for its fall-winter campaign, which bows in the August issues of W and Vogue as well as other major fashion books around the world. Kawahara weds high technology with old-world technique by taking Polaroid snapshots and replicating them with oil paint. “Polaroid images capture reality as it manifests itself to me,” said Kawahara, who currently lives in Tokyo but spent five years in Italy studying art at Florence’s Istituto d’Arte Lorenzo De’ Medici and working in Milan. “I’m looking to bring together truth and fiction.” — Amanda Kaiser

MERGING MARZOTTO: Marzotto is reorganizing its money-losing textile assets with the aim to create a “world-leading player in the linen sector.” Marzotto said it plans to merge its Linificio e Canapificio Nazionale division with Zignago Tessile, a unit of Marzotto family-controlled holding company Industrie Zignago Santa Margherita. Marzotto said the new company would better compete in the world market, especially with up-and-coming manufacturers in emerging countries like China and those of the former Soviet Union. The merger is expected to boost efficiencies in areas like production, research and yarn dying and will also involve transferring some activities to low labor-cost countries, Marzotto said. — A.K.THEN THEY TOOK BERLIN: Chanel is more than doubling its retail presence in the German capital. At the end of the month it plans to open a 2,700-square-foot boutique on Kurfurstendamm, the city’s main shopping boulevard. A Chanel spokeswoman in Paris said the boutique would house its ready-to-wear, accessories, watches, perfumes and cosmetics. The new boutique will replace a 1,300-square-foot unit on Fasanenstrasse. — Miles Socha

MOVING ON: A slowdown in luxury spending isn’t putting the brakes on Escada’s retail rollouts. Openings this year in Tokyo, Moscow, Kuwait and Beirut will bring the German fashion house up to 420 shops in about 63 countries. But the big event of the year will be in Paris when Escada moves into new digs at 275 Rue Saint Honoré at the end of the year. The two-level, 4,850-square-foot flagship replaces a 2,250-square-foot unit across the street, opened 20 years ago by Escada’s franchise partner Helene Vagh, who is retiring. The new franchise partner is Olga Mamonova of the Jamilco Group. Escada is represented in 30 doors in France, including a second Escada store on Avenue Montaigne. First-year sales goals for Rue Saint Honoré were pegged at about $10 million. Dollar figures are calculated from the euro at current exchange rates. According to Escada chief executive Wolfgang Ley, “the new Escada shop in Paris stands for ‘the new heart of Escada’ and not only in Europe, but the whole world.” — Melissa Drier

HELPING HAND: Renaud Dutreil, French secretary of state for small industry and commerce, helped close the Paris couture season last week by announcing an investment fund to aid emerging designers as they expand internationally. Fashion designers who export between $115,000 and $3.5 million of their production qualify for the dedicated loan guarantee program. The size of the fund was not disclosed. But Dutreil said the level of guarantees “will be important, superior to that attributed to companies in general.” The ministry recognizes that French fashion designers — who export up to 80 percent of their production from startup — have trouble getting banks to fund their expansion. — Emilie Marsh

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