GARDEN STATE SEARING: New Jersey officials said Monday that Sears, Roebuck & Co. is one of four companies the state plans to sue for massive pension fund losses. At a press conference, Gov. Jim McGreevey and other state officials said New Jersey will bring a securities class-action lawsuit against the retailer and some of its officers and directors alleging that the defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements to the market between Jan. 17 and Oct. 17. Along with Sears, New Jersey plans to bring suits against Tyco International Ltd., Qwest Communications Inc. and Electronic Data Systems for allegedly causing more than $150 million in state pension system losses. The state’s fund lost more than $6 billion last quarter, and more than $20 billion over the past three years.

ALL EYES ON STELLA: Gucci Group and Safilo Group, the Italian eyewear manufacturer, aren’t wasting time when it comes to developing branded sunglasses. After Bottega Veneta, it’s Stella McCartney’s turn. She will launch an initial sunglass collection comprising six styles, which will bow globally next spring. Details on prices and distribution were not available.

NEW VP AT VESTIMENTA: Vestimenta Inc. has promoted Jeffrey Weinberg to vice president, a new post. He was formerly director of men’s sales. A six-year veteran of the company, Weinberg continues to oversee Vestimenta’s men’s division, while his new responsibilities include women’s sales and steering retail planning and expansion. Weinberg also serves as the senior liaison between Vestimenta’s American branch and its parent company, based in Trento, Italy. The company’s women’s sales director, Ellen Zornberg, now reports to Weinberg, and the company is still searching for a president to succeed John Wilson, who left in April.

CHANGES AT ELLEN TRACY: Ellen Tracy has promoted Joni Storgion-Knight to vice president of design for the Linda Allard collection and Donna McKenzie to vice president of design for the company line. Both worked in their respective areas but now have more responsibilities. They continue to be based at Ellen Tracy’s New York office and report to Allard. Additionally, Beth Ann Mayer has joined the firm as vice president of product development. Most recently, she was vice president of merchandising for Elie Tahari. She also reports to Allard.

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