CONAWAY ON THE LINE: Kmart Corp.’s lawyers said in bankruptcy court Tuesday that, because former chief executive Charles Conaway failed to warn its board of liquidity problems, the bankrupt discounter intends to try to make Conaway repay a $5 million loan that the retailer had forgiven. The lawyer also said that the trustee for Kmart’s creditors also could go after a $4 million severance payment collected by the former ceo. Conaway’s attorney disputed information disclosed by Kmart’s board in court documents alleging wrongdoing by his client, including the controversial program to suspend payments to vendors.
TSE SALES: Suzanne Zikas, a former vice president of sales for Donna Karan, has joined Tse as vice president of sales, reporting to Lewis B. Koppelman, who joined Tse as chief operating officer in November. Zikas, who had also previously worked for Pamela Dennis and Henri Bendel, will oversee sales for Tse’s three divisions: Tse, tsesay and Tse Men.
SARA LEE LAYOFFS: Sara Lee Corp. on Tuesday said it will eliminate approximately 1,200 jobs in Puerto Rico at three plants that manufacture Playtex innerwear. The job cuts will take place at factories in the towns of Dorado, Humacao and Vega Baja and are projected to take place in six to seven months. The Chicago-based consumer products titan said other textile divisions on the Caribbean island will continue operations. After cutting about 3,900 jobs in 2001, this latest action will reduce Sara Lee’s workforce in Puerto Rico to about 3,000. In a statement, Rafael Rodriguez, Sara Lee Intimate Apparel’s vice president of operations in the Caribbean, attributed the layoffs to “the continuing pressures of a weak economy and an intensely competitive atmosphere.”