BOSS’ BIG APPLE BASTION: Hugo Boss might close "one or two" unprofitable U.S. stores, but chief executive Bruno Sälzer flatly denied that the Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan could be one of them. "Of course, we’re not in the black there," he conceded of the New York store during the firm’s annual financial press conference in Metzingen, Germany, Thursday. "We weren’t last year, and we won’t be this year. But no flagship on Fifth Avenue was writing black numbers last year, either. And we did surprisingly good turnover compared to others on Madison Avenue and Fifth." There are currently 19 Boss shops in the U.S., and work is progressing on a 17,000-square-foot Boss Man and Woman store at Columbus Circle in New York. That unit is slated to open in September. At the conference, Boss confirmed that net income for 2002 dropped 30.6 percent, to $81.4 million, while sales were flat at $1.19 billion. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates. Boss Woman’s 2002 business was off 23.7 percent, to $40.3 million, but its net loss was reduced to $19.7 million against a $26.4 million loss in 2001. The division is now expected to break even during the second half of the current year.

TIFFANY GRANTS: Tiffany & Co. presented grants Wednesday totaling $655,000 to a range of institutions and organizations through its Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Established in 2000, the foundation began with an initial fund of $1 million, and now totals $5.9 million, supporting nonprofit groups dedicated to the arts and environmental conservation. This year, grants were awarded to 10 institutions: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Moore College of Art & Design, The New York Botanical Garden, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Public Radio’s Studio 360 art program, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Winterthur and the World Resources Institute. Tiffany also has contributed to the Boston Museum of Arts for an exhibition in 2005 of Tiffany jewelry.

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