AVON ON PLAN: Avon Products Inc. rubber-stamped its previous second-quarter projections and said currency exchange rates, if they stay at or near current levels, could propel the firm past its earnings target for the year of $2.55 a share. For the second quarter, the direct beauty merchant is looking for mid-single-digit earnings per share growth from year-ago profits of 64 cents, when currency-hedging strategies produced unusually high gains that will not be repeated. Sales for the three months should be in line with the first quarter, when the top line advanced 7 percent in dollars and 12 percent in local currencies.

A DEAL ON DOLCE & GABBANA: The Italian house plans to open two outlet stores on the West Coast by the end of the summer. “We want to keep our image clean and control where our goods end up,” said a spokeswoman for the company. “But we don’t have plans for more outlets, just more Dolce & Gabbana and D&G stores.” One outlet will open in July at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, Calif., about 20 minutes west of Palm Springs. The 3,000-square-foot location, which joins designer neighbors Versace, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and the new Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store, will sell the Dolce & Gabbana and D&G lines for men and women, retailing for at least 20 to 30 percent off. The second outlet, an 1,800-square-foot unit, bows at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets in August, when the new development opens with more than 100 stores, including Coach, St. John, Theory, Kenneth Cole and Polo Ralph Lauren. Both outlet centers are ventures by Chelsea Property Group based in Roseland, N.J. Simon Property Group Inc. is a partner in the Las Vegas project.

P.R. FOR GIRLSHOP: Extending its cyber-franchise to terra firma, Girlshop Inc., parent of indie boutique girlshop.com, has opened a public relations showroom in New York and is eyeing a TV programming deal. “We’ve spoken to WE, Style, Oxygen,” said a company spokeswoman. “We hope to be on air in early 2004.” Girlshop’s TV take would merge the offer of apparel, shoes and skin care from 32 indie designers with the expertise of fashion editors, stylists and celebrities. Viewers would be able to buy items either by phoning a toll-free number or visiting the e-boutique. The p.r. showroom, open daily, is a play for exposure via editors, stylists and producers. “We’re getting interest from producers of reality TV shows, including ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘High School Reunion,’” the spokeswoman noted. A simultaneous launch and fall market “Too Cool for School” party will be held on June 12.

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