• LIZ AT HOME: Liz Claiborne Inc. is making itself more comfortable in the home market. The firm reported Wednesday it had reached agreements in principle with Lexington Home Brands and Richloom Fabrics Group, which will expand the firm’s home offerings. Lexington will design, market and launch in April a Liz Claiborne furniture line comprised of roughly 150 pieces, including bedroom, dining room, occasional and accent furniture, as well as upholstery that will feature fabrics from Richloom. Under its agreement, Richloom will produce a nationally distributed line of decorative fabrics set to launch to the trade in January.

  • VF LEGWEAR ON TAP: VF Corp.’s intimates division said Wednesday it has signed a licensing agreement with Candor Hosiery Mills to manufacture legwear under the Vanity Fair and Lily of France brands. The collections, which include socks, tights and hosiery, will bow at next month’s legwear market in New York.

  • CASH FOR THE CATOS: Cato Corp. has agreed to buy two founding brothers’ entire holdings of Class B common stock comprising 5.1 million shares, or 20.2 percent of the firm’s total outstanding stock. The stock will be purchased for $18.50 a share for a total price of $95 million from limited partnerships and trusts affiliated with Wayland Cato Jr. and Edgar Cato, who will retire from the board on which they have served since 1946. The Cato brothers’ holdings represent 66.2 percent of the Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer’s total voting interest. Cato said it will fund the transaction with a combination of currently available cash and a new bank financing facility.

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