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In Brief

PPR LAWSUIT: Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, the French retailer controlled by Francois Pinault, last week said it would take legal action against an as-yet-unnamed party for share price manipulation. PPR's shares tumbled 11.72 percent to $100.35 in...

PPR LAWSUIT: Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, the French retailer controlled by Francois Pinault, last week said it would take legal action against an as-yet-unnamed party for share price manipulation. PPR’s shares tumbled 11.72 percent to $100.35 in trading on the Paris Bourse last Wednesday amidst rumors questioning its accounting practices. Serge Weinberg, the group’s chairman, called the rumors unfounded. The episode came as Paris traders suffered a case of jitters in the wake of doubts about the accounting practices of beleaguered media conglomerate Vivendi Universal.

l MORE CAVALLI: Ittierre will keep producing Roberto Cavalli’s Just Cavalli line into the next decade. Ittierre’s parent, IT Holding, and Roberto Cavalli renewed their licensing agreement, which was set to expire in 2005. The freshly inked deal, which runs through the spring collections of 2010, also calls for the launch of a new batch of Just Cavalli fragrances this fall through IT Holding’s new perfume joint venture with beauty executive Roberto Martone. Roberto IT Holding declined to specify how much the contract is or disclose sales figures for the line. Meanwhile, Just Cavalli is gearing up for its catwalk debut in Milan for fall 2003.

ON THE SKIDS: Sears, Roebuck & Co. said on Friday it is weighing an appeal on its share of a $29 million jury award to the family of a man killed in an auto rollover accident involving a Bridgestone/Firestone tire. A state jury in Orange, Texas, assessed 35 percent of the damages against Sears, which sold and later repaired the tire, and 65 percent against the manufacturer Bridgestone/Firestone. “We are considering our options and that certainly would include the possibility of an appeal,” company spokeswoman Jan Drummond said. The dead man’s family accused Sears of negligence in failing to properly repair or replace the tire and also alleged that the Bridgestone/Firestone Dueler APT tire was defective in its design and manufacture. The family had already reached a confidential settlement with Bridgestone/Firestone, a unit of Japan’s Bridgestone Corp.

FIN DEAL: Could Italian fashion groups Fin.part and Fingen be preparing a sportswear alliance? That’s the tongue-twisting scenario buzzing about in Milan. Fingen, which makes jeans under the Calvin Klein, Guess and Rifle brands, denied reports of the deal, which says the two companies want to group their sportswear brands together into a 50-50 joint venture. Fin.part declined to comment, but it has said it’s putting its sportswear division on the block to offset the debt accumulated from recent acquisitions like Cerruti. Fin.part’s sportswear portfolio includes Marina Yachting, Henry Cottons and Moncler. At the end of 2001, Fin.part’s net debt stood at $442.43 million (converted from euro at current exchange rates).

A BETTER EDUCATED GUESS: Guess Inc. now expects its loss for the just concluded second quarter to come in at 16 to 18 cents a share, 4 cents a share more than its previous forecast. Guess earnings were 3 cents a share in the second quarter of last year. Carlos Alberini, president and chief operating officer, noted that, despite higher gross margins in its own stores, lower same-store sales and “a difficult department store environment” dragged down results.”