BORDER CROSSINGS: President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, meeting in Detroit on Monday, announced a quick-pass system to speed trucks and their cargo crossing the U.S.-Canada border. Companies can begin registering next Monday for the Free & Secure Trade Program, which will require firms to pre-clear their cargo with either country’s Customs Department. By the end of the year, registered trucks and drivers can clear Customs in either country in special lanes at five crossings. About $1.3 billion in trade crosses the border daily.
STEEP DROP AT MARZOTTO: Marzotto saw its first-half net profit drop sharply to $1.67 million from $15.9 million on weak results at its textile division and Hugo Boss units. (Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.) Consolidated sales dropped 3.7 percent to $816.4 million from $863.2 million the year before. Allowance for bad debts also ate into the bottom line. Provisions on Hugo Boss caused that figure to swell to $16.2 million from $4.32 million. Marzotto said that despite losses at recently acquired Valentino, full-year 2002 net profit should be in line with the $54.7 million figure of 2001, if it sells off the real estate and other assets it has marked for sale. Marzotto said 2002 sales should rise “slightly.”
JUST ADD WATER: Heatherette designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains are helping Parsons School of Design junior Sarah Kassaae make a splash in the fashion world. As the champ of a Dasani-sponsored design contest for a water-inspired T-shirt, Kassaae’s sequined number with a plunging V-neck and corset-type touches will be showcased at Heatherette’s fashion show Sept. 17. The aspiring designer also won backstage passes to the show and a $1,500 shopping spree with Heatherette.
MONEY TO KMART: TBWA Worldwide, Kmart’s advertising agency, will pay the bankrupt retailer $2.7 million in a dispute involving third-party media obligations, and the agency will retain an equal amount in the matter revolving around $5.4 million of overpayment by Kmart. Additionally, TBWA’s $1.7 million general unsecured prepetition claim against Kmart remains outstanding. Separately, Kmart said Monday it has launched its inaugural issue of La Vida magazine, an entertainment and lifestyle magazine for the Hispanic community, one of the retailer’s target markets.