• EYES ON LUXOTTICA:A spokeswoman for Luxottica Group SpA declined to comment on European press reports that Luxottica was the unnamed firm that made an unsolicited, nonbinding $320.9 million takeover offer for Cole National Corp., the operator of Pearle Visionstores. Cole declined to name the bidder, but said that it is negotiating with the party and others on various alternatives. The company also owns a managed-care operation for eye care and the Things Remembered gift business. It said that its board has formed a special committee to consider alternatives for the firm, including a possible sale or restructuring.

  • SAKS HIRE: Saks Fifth Avenue hired David Gruning as its director of publicity, reporting to Lori Rhodes. Gruning was vice president of public relations at the entertainment marketing company, MCP. Prior to that, he worked in publicity for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani. Gruning succeeds Michael Macko, who was named director of fashion merchandising for men’s at Saks last month.

  • OUT OF TIME: As expected, Clothestime Stores Inc.’s bankruptcy status was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation from a Chapter 11 reorganization in a court hearing here late Wednesday, effectively liquidating the once publicly held, $350 million junior retail powerhouse. “The bottom line is [that] through Chapter 7 proceedings a trustee will be assigned to collect and distribute whatever assets Clothestime has left. And that will be determined at a later date,”said Judge Robert W. Alberts.

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