GOING HOME: After just nine months working as the publisher of Elle, Lori Burgess has jumped ship. Burgess, who had been the publisher of Mademoiselle for two years until it suspended publication in November 2001, rejoined Condé Nast Friday as the publisher of House & Garden. She was hired by Elle in May 2002. For all of 2002, Elle had 1,534 ad pages, a drop of 18.1 percent from the year before. She replaces Brenda Saget, who resigned Thursday. While House & Garden’s 8 percent drop in ad pages for the year (to 1,003 from 1,090.5) was relatively minor in what was one of the most difficult years in publishing, it came at a point when many of the shelter titles are up in circulation and ad pages. Condé Nast is a unit of Advance Publications, which also owns Fairchild.

JAPANESE UMBRELLA: Louis Vuitton Japan and Celine Japan have merged to form LVJ Group K.K. The deal took effectSaturday. "Through this merger, the group will strengthen the management culture, as the sales firm of LVMH’s fashion and leather goods division, as well as maximize [synergies] among the brands in the group," LVJ said in a statement. Vuitton and Celine are owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Within the new venture, which has a capital investment of $1 million and employs about 1,900 people, the two brands are managed as Louis Vuitton Co. and Celine Co. Kyojiro Hata is president of the group, chief operating officer of Louis Vuitton Co. and chief executive of Celine Japan Co.

OPEN AND SHUT CASE: Dillard’s Inc. said Friday that it plans to close four underperforming stores during the spring. Employees at the units — at the Randall Park Mall in North Randall, Ohio; Raleigh Springs Mall in Memphis; Richland Fashion Mall in Columbia, S.C., and Greenville Mall in Greenville, S.C. — will be offered jobs at nearby Dillard’s stores. Dillard’s plans six new stores for fiscal 2003, one of which replaces a shuttered unit in Houston. In the fiscal year that ended over the weekend, Dillard’s closed 10 stores and opened seven, three of which were replacement units. The Little Rock, Ark.-based firm currently operates 336 department stores in 29 states.

RISING THROUGH SAG HARBOR: Sag Harbor, a unit of Kellwood Co., has promoted four members of its team. Marina Pappas, a 27-year veteran of the firm, has been named senior vice president of design; Neva Turi, former director of merchandising, was appointed vice president of merchandising; Neil Felix, national sales manager, is now vice president of sales, and production manager David Ford was promoted to vice president of casual product. Based in New York, Pappas, Turi and Felix report to Marty Brody, chief executive officer, while Ford reports to Gary Jastrow, senior vice president of manufacturing.

HIRSCH PROMOTED AT POLO: Rebekah Hirsch, senior director of women’s publicity at Polo Ralph Lauren, has been promoted to the new post of senior director of fashion publicity, responsible for men’s and women’s publicity in the U.S. Hirsch reports to Nancy Murray, senior vice president of corporate affairs.

TRADE PACTS ADVANCE: President Bush told Congress he plans to sign the recently complete free-trade agreements with Chile and Singapore. This triggers a 90-day Congressional review of the treaties, after which the President will sign them. Once he signs them, the President must submit legislation to Congress to implement the deals. Because Congress granted the President trade-promotion authority, it can vote the proposed deals up or down but not amend them. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has said his goal is to have both trade agreements passed by the end of the year and in effect on Jan.1. It is still unclear whether the bills will pass the House and Senate. Singapore and Chile are small suppliers of textiles and apparel to the U.S. Both trade pacts contain strict yarn-forward rules of origin, which requires textiles and apparel to be made of yarn and fabric produced within the free-trade area, but the agreements do allow for some exceptions of third-country fabrics.

SMALL SCREEN STYLE: Nick at Nite is having its own fashion week. From Feb. 9-14 — the same as New York’s fall runway week — the network will run style-centric episodes of its syndicated sitcoms, including "All in the Family," "The Cosby Show" and "Charles in Charge." The week will culminate with a one-hour special called "Inside TV Land: Style & Fashion," deconstructing 50 years of TV fashion moments, from Mary Tyler Moore’s capri pants on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" to Calista Flockhart’s microminis on "Ally McBeal." The special includes an eclectic roster of interviews, including Kate Moss, "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star, Bob Mackie and Florence Henderson.

ONE UP, ONE DOWN: Goldman, Sachs & Co. on Thursday raised its rating for Target Corp. to "outperform" while lowering Saks. Inc. to "underperform." Both had been rated "in line." The Target upgrade recognized that, although the firm’s 50 percent increase in receivables last year and its emphasis on higher-end products in a tough retail climate constitute areas of concern, its recent stock price "amply discounts these issues." On the other hand, Goldman said, Saks’ "unhappy marriage of high-end and traditional department stores persists. The synergies of the Saks union have yet to materialize, and we believe a future turnaround on both fronts is dubious."

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