Galen Weston, the Canadian billionaire who wants to buy Selfridges, said in a statement Friday that his company, Oxford Acquisitions Ltd., had purchased 29.5 million shares — or 19.12 percent of the retailer — from shareholders since his offer went out to them last month. Weston, whose $1.14 billion bid has been approved by the Selfridges board, now has a total of 29.22 percent of the company, which includes the shares he already owns. The statement added that the selling period had been extended until June 25, and the offer will become unconditional when Weston has 50 percent or more of the Selfridges shares. A Selfridges spokeswoman declined to comment on whether any other bids have been made to the Selfridges board, but sources said all potential bidders, including the property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, have fallen silent over the past few weeks. It is not unusual for shareholders to wait until the very last minute to sell their shares in the hope that a more generous bidder arrives on the scene. — Samantha Conti

JUST A SECOND: Costume National is hoping to cash in on the lucrative world of secondary lines and is teaming up with licensee IT Holding to produce a new collection aimed at a younger clientele. Costume National designer Ennio Capasa will oversee all creative aspects of the new women’s and men’s lines of the still-to-be-named collection. Capasa said he decided to develop a second line to “explore a territory intimately connected to my style’s roots” and create a link to the next generation. The license with IT Holding is for five years, renewable for another five years. The first collection bows for fall-winter 2004-2005. IT Holding declined to disclose sales targets but has made a name for itself by producing secondary lines for designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Roberto Cavalli. — Amanda Kaiser

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