ACTION AGAINST SEARS: A securities class action has begun on behalf of shareholders who acquired Sears, Roebuck & Co. securities between Jan. 17, 2002 and Oct. 17, 2002. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, against defendants Sears, Alan Lacy, chief executive officer; Glenn Richter, chief financial officer, Paul Liska, former chief financial officer, and Thomas E. Bergmann, chief accounting officer. The action charges that defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements to the market throughout the class period.

CREDIT REPORT: Is retail giant Pinault-Printemps-Redoute about to shed its financial services arm, Finaref? Speculation heated up over the weekend in Europe that PPR may sell the affiliate, possibly to Credit Agricole. Finaref comprises credit card operations for PPR’s Printemps, Fnac, Conforama and Redoute activities. PPR has been under pressure to reduce its business-to-business activities in favor of retail and luxury, which boast higher profit margins. In August, it sold the mail-order subsidiary of Guilbert to Staples Inc. for $808 million. PPR reports its third-quarter sales on Tuesday.

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