FITCH GOES NEGATIVE ON GAP: Fitch affirmed its "BBB-" ratings on The Gap Inc.'s Issuer Default Rating and $513 million senior unsecured notes, the ratings firm said Thursday, but added that the rating outlook on the retailer "has been revised to Negative from Stable." Fitch said the change in the rating outlook "reflects persistent weak operating performance across the company's largest banners, including Gap and Old Navy, and the potential that continued poor performance will result in weaker credit metrics. The ratings continue to reflect Gap's diverse store base, brand recognition and strong liquidity position, balanced against the highly competitive specialty apparel retailing environment."

LACOSTE HIRES PECORE: Lacoste has appointed Doug Pecore as vice president of wholesale. He succeeds Per Inglander, who left to pursue other opportunities. Most recently, Pecore was vice president of sales and marketing at Capital Mercury Apparel. Earlier, he spent 16 years at Levi Strauss & Co. in various management posts. Based in New York, Pecore will report to Robert Siegel, chairman of Lacoste USA.

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