• LIMITED, MAY CO. SUIT: A battle between Limited Brands and May Department Stores Co. over hiring a top executive has entered the courts. The Limited has filed suit against May Co., which is seeking to block Limited’s efforts to recruit Mark Weikel, former chairman of May’s Houston-based Foley’s division. Weikel, as reported, has been offered a senior-level position at Victoria’s Secret, reporting to the chain’s chief executive, Grace Nichols. In the suit, Limited reportedly contends that Foley’s is not a competitor to Victoria’s Secret and therefore hiring Weikel does not constitute a violation of noncompete restrictions written into Weikel’s contract at Foley’s. May Co. is likely to seek a restraining order at least temporarily blocking Weikel’s job move, until the issue is resolved in courts. A few days ago, Weikel resigned from Foley’s to join Victoria’s Secret. May has a reputation for being tough on executives who seek to jump ship to other retailers, but compensating those who stay on well. It’s the first time that Limited and May Co. have been in a legal battle involving executive recruitment. Mayconfirmed Thursday that Limited filed a suit, but had no details. It was reportedly filed in St. Louis, where May Co. is based. Officials at Limited, based in Columbus, Ohio, could not be reached. At Foley’s, Andrew T. Hall stepped in as chairman on Tuesday. Andrew P. Pickman continues as president and ceo of Foley’s has 67 stores in five states. Sales last year were about $2 billion.

  • TARGETING DIVIDENDS: Target Corp. raised its quarterly dividend to 7 cents a common share, a 1 cent, or 16.7 percent, rise over the 6 cent payout made on Tuesday. Given the 910.3 million basic shares outstanding as of May 3, the increase will cost Target $9.1 million, raising the total quarterly dividend payout to about $63.7 million. The dividend is payable Sept. 10 to shareholders of record on Aug. 20.

  • SAKS’ HOLIDAY TUNE: Saks Fifth Avenue wants to raise $1 million during the holiday 2003 season to support the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and is recruiting designers and vendors to the cause. They’re being asked to create exclusive products to be sold in “Gifts that Give Back” shops that will be in all 62 Saks stores from mid-October through Christmas. Part of each sale will be donated to the foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to restoring music programs in schools and raising awareness about the importance of music participation. “Musical education is essential for children’sgrowth and development,” said Christina Johnson, chairman and chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • CHELSEA’S CROSSINGS: Chelsea Property Group Inc. on Thursday said it completed the acquisition of The Crossings Factory Stores in Tannersville, Pa., from Outletter Associates for $111.3 million, including closing costs and the assumption of a $61 million, 5.85 percent mortgage due in 2013. An additional $5 million will be payable upon completion of a 21,000-square-foot expansion, expected in mid-2004. The center boasts a 98 percent occupancy rate with tenants such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, Coach, Nautica, Timberland and Tommy Hilfiger. Last year, average tenant sales were $385 a square foot.

    Editor’s note: Due to a technical problem, the WWD Stock Market Index doesn’t appear in today’s edition.

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