S&P UPGRADES: Taking a rosier view on Kohl’s Corp., Standard & Poor’s raised its outlook on the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based retailer to positive from stable and reaffirmed its “A-minus” corporate credit rating. The firm’s $133 million 364-day revolving credit facility maturing in July and its $532 million revolving credit facility due in 2007 were also assigned “A-minus” ratings. “The outlook anticipates that Kohl’s business and financial risk profiles will improve, given strong growth prospects for the company through store expansion and superior execution,” said fixed-income analyst Diane Shand in a statement. S&P also raised its long-term debt rating on TJX Cos. to “A” from “A-minus,” citing consistently good operating performance, strong market position and the expectation that its conservative management approach will be maintained as the firm’s growth spurt continues. The short-term rating was also brought up to “A-1″ from “A-2″ while the off-pricer’s credit outlook remained stable.
REDBOOK HONORS: First Lady Laura Bush delivered the keynote address at Redbook’s fifth annual “Mothers & Shakers” awards luncheon Thursday at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Bush, dressed in a lavender suit, told the audience she was delighted to be among so many “friends and friendly faces” who share the common goal of bettering America. “The achievements today are diverse, but what they have in common is humanity,” said the First Lady, before citing the President’s plea for Americans to volunteer more. The honorees included Tyra Banks, for working to boost pre-teens’ self-esteem; Maria Cuomo Cole, for aiding the homeless; The Dixie Chicks, for helping save endangered species and protecting the environment; Angie Harmon, for fighting video voyeurism; Marlee Matlin, for working to keep the nation’s blood supply full, and Laura San Giacomo, for raising awareness about classroom diversity. Jayne Jamison, vice president and publisher of Redbook, which is celebrating its centennial, plugged the magazine’s new, updated look: “We look pretty good for 100, don’t you think?”
MADISON SHOES: Via Spiga, the shoe and accessory retailer, is moving to 692 Madison Avenue, between 62nd and 63rd Streets, according to Stuart Ellman and Helene Wall Fagan of Judson Realty LLC, the broker representing the landlord and the tenant. Via Spiga will have three levels and 3,600 square feet, and aggregate rent in excess of $7 million, Ellman said. Via Spiga is currently at 765 Madison Avenue.
KASPER’S EUROPEAN PRESIDENT: Kasper ASL Ltd. has appointed Henrik Madsen president of its European division. Madsen will report to John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, and he will be responsible for women’s apparel for Anne Klein New York, AK Anne Klein, Albert Nipon, Kasper and Le Suit brands throughout Europe and the Middle East. Madsen has spent seven years building the international business for the French Connection Group in London, and prior to that, he was with the Prada Group in Milan, where he served as brand director for Miu Miu.