EXTENSION GRANTED: President Bush was automatically given a two-year extension of Trade Promotion Authority Friday evening without a challenge from Congress. Under the authority, the administration has the ability to negotiate trade agreements that Congress must vote up or down without amendments and on a specified timeline. The authority, established in the Trade Act of 2002, expired Friday and neither the Senate nor the House rejected the request by the President to extend it so it was automatically renewed for two years.

MEXX MOVES: Mexx Europe Holdings, a division of Liz Claiborne Inc., has named Mark Walsh as senior vice president of brands. Walsh will be responsible for the group's brands including Mexx, Liz Claiborne, Elisabeth, Monet, Enyce, Lucky Brand and Ellen Tracy across Europe and the Middle East, and will report to Rattan Chadha, chief executive officer of the Mexx Group. Prior to his appointment, Walsh was president of Liz Claiborne's Specialty Retail division in the U.S.

FRENCH CONNECTION PROFIT WARNING
: French Connection warned last week that pretax profits for the fiscal year ending January 2006 would be lower than analysts' expectations, and would instead be in the range of 20 million pounds to 25 million pounds, or $35.2 million to $44 million, at the current exchange rate, compared to pretax profits of $56.4 million for the year ending January 2005.

The company blamed the difficult retail environment in the U.K., and a low level of repeat orders for the summer range from wholesalers. The company said it also expected to report a same-store sales decline of around 11 percent for the first half of the fiscal year, in the company's U.K. and Europe retail business.

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