IN THE LINE OF DUTY: Seizing the current economic downturn to cut its fixed costs, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said last week it succeeded in renegotiating the lease for its DFS duty-free operations in Hawaii. A spokesman declined to say how much of a break LVMH obtained for its 20-odd shops there, but said DFS should save from $56 million to $67.2 million, or 50 million to 60 million euros, from now through 2006. DFS said it maintains its goal of reaching breakeven by the end of the year. The spokesman added that DFS is also renegotiating airport leases in San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere. LVMH recently reported that sales at DFS — battered by the war in Iraq, SARS and weak global tourism — plunged 36 percent at constant exchange rates in the second quarter. — Miles Socha

SHOW BUSINESS: In just two seasons, upstart trade shows Bread & Butter and Premium Sportswear Couture have turned Berlin into the new hot spot when it comes to junior, jeans and contemporary fashions. Last month, Bread & Butter drew 18,000 buyers, Premium Sportswear Couture 5,500, and even the upstart Berlin Fashion Week, sponsored by Fubu and organized by Matt Lehitka of Street Voice Group Deutschland, Inc., pulled in around 5,000 visitors, Lehitka said. He’s now planning a fourth exhibition in Berlin for Jan. 16-18, 2004: Fashion Entertainment Week, or FEW for short. To be held in cooperation with Sony Germany, FEW will focus on fashion companies “closely linked to the music and entertainment scene.” Lehitka said he expects around 50 exhibitors to take part at Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz, including Scandinavian and American companies. “Ten years ago, designers created new lines with their new looks, but today, musicians make fashion,” he asserted. “Music clips are today’s fashion shows.” Besides the fashions on view, music events are also being planned — with Sony Entertainment, of course.

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