KMART DELAY: The Chicago bankruptcy court judge overseeing the confirmation hearing on Kmart’s reorganization plan has opted to continue the hearing through Monday. Originally set for Monday and Tuesday of this week, the court session was continued into next week to give creditors and the court more time to address some of the concerns raised by unsecured creditors, as well as take two days off for the religious holidays. As reported, some have opposed confirmation of the plan until after $367 million is returned by so-called critical vendors who were paid ahead of everyone else in the bankruptcy.
ALL BETS OFF: Luciano Benetton’s sons, Rocco and Mauro, are being investigated for alleged money laundering related to the opening of the Benetton Sport Café in New York. The brothers are being investigated by the Florence, Italy, district attorney. Benetton lawyers issued a statement Wednesday saying that their involvement was limited to participating in transactions in the Café project — the creation of a chain of theme restaurants. According to the statement, the Benettons ultimately did not get involved in the project. “The transactions were transparent and clear,” said the statement. For this reason, the lawyers say, the accusations against the Benettons are not “understandable” and that they have faith the investigation will clear the brothers. A Benetton spokesman declined further comment. There is no investigation currently in the U.S. regarding the Benettons. Tommaso and Francesco Buti, who were arrested three years ago for mismanagement of the Fashion Café chain, are also being investigated in the same inquest.
THIRD TIME LUCKY?: It’s no secret that Harrods has been having problems hanging onto its managers, so it came as no surprise that the post of managing director changed once again this week. Max Rigelman, chief executive and managing director of Kurt Geiger, which operates the footwear concessions in Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty of London and a string of company-owned stores, has replaced Marty Wikstrom, who took over the post in November 2001. Wikstrom, a former Nordstrom executive, had overseen Harrods’ plan to renovate and reposition the Knightsbridge store, making it more appealing to London shoppers and less reliant on tourists. According to a Harrods statement, she left the business after her contract ended. Rigelman will remain the chief executive of Kurt Geiger.