- BAUER TUMBLES: Shares of Eddie Bauer dropped 17.9 percent to $7.98 Wednesday despite the company cutting its second-quarter loss in half as the outdoor apparel maker posted revenue that was nearly flat year-over-year and a decline in gross margins. The company reiterated a five-point turnaround plan that includes increasing marketing efforts to reestablish brand recognition and cost-cutting measures. Neil S. Fiske, president and chief executive officer, said on the company's conference call after market close Tuesday that he expects some initiatives to "yield results in the short-term; other [initiatives], like product improvement, may not have a big impact until fall '08." For its second quarter ended June 30, Eddie Bauer lost $22.3 million, or 73 cents a diluted share, narrowed from a year-earlier loss of $42 million, or $1.40 a diluted share, on revenue of $227 million, up from $225.7 million. The company, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., said second-quarter gross margin fell to 35.4 percent, down from 37.7 percent in the 2006 period. "This decrease was due primarily to increases in occupancy costs as a percentage of net merchandise sales and the impact of the costs of our customer loyalty program," said David Taylor, Eddie Bauer's chief financial officer, on the call.

- ANTITRUST GO-AHEAD: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission consented to Dubai-based Istithmar's purchase of luxury retail chain Barneys New York for $942.3 million from Jones Apparel Group, clearing the deal of any antitrust issues. The FTC also decided not to oppose Finish Line Inc.'s $1.5 billion proposal to acquire Genesco Inc.

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