• MARIELLA IN THE BANK: Mariella Burani Fashion Group said it has a new financial partner. Milan merchant bank Interbanca has taken an indirect stake of nearly 10 percent in the company for about $27.5 million, or, in local currency, 24 million euros. Interbanca bought 30 percent of Burani Designer Holding BV, which in turn controls 33 percent of Mariella Burani Fashion Group, the company listed on the Milan stock exchange. Burani Designer Holding is aiming to become a diversified holding company and is evaluating acquisitions of small firms that make high-quality Italian goods. Mariella Burani has been busy on the shopping front over the last few years, snapping up Mila Schön, the Sahza apparel brand and four Italian accessories companies — Braccialini, Deimutti, Saddler-Sebastian and Baldinini.

  • I DO: May Department Stores Co. said Monday it had purchased the inventory, leases and name of Modern Tuxedo, a 25-door Chicago-based tuxedo rental and sales chain, for an undisclosed cash sum. Modern Tuxedo boasts annual sales of roughly $12 million. The acquisition gives May Co. a men’s formalwear presence in Chicago. It will be part of May’s Bridal Group, which also operates 188 David’s Bridal stores and 10 Priscilla of Boston doors. A spokeswoman said the deal would not have a material impact on May Co.’s second-quarter results.

  • FLAT NEW WORLD: Adidas-Salomon anticipates no sales growth in North America this year, but the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based firm said it still would hit 2003 projections calling for 10 to 15 percent earnings growth and a 5 percent upswing in currency-neutral sales due to strength in Europe and Asia. Preliminary North American first-half results indicate stable currency-neutral sales versus a year ago. Currency-neutral backlogs, though, which reflect the order situation for the next six months, show a 10 to 15 percent decline, said the firm.

  • KMART RECOUP: Kmart Holding Corp. has filed a bankruptcy court complaint to recover a $49 million critical vendor payment it made to Handleman Co. at the outset of its bankruptcy proceedings last year. The Troy, Mich.-based retailer on Monday said it requested either the return of the payment or a letter of credit guaranteeing the funds pending the outcome of the “critical vendor payment issue” that is under review with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kmart said Handleman, a music and video distributor, refused to meet the request, and that the firm “believes it has the fiduciary duty to its stakeholders to pursue recovery.”

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