• MORE DE BEERS: De Beers LV said Wednesday it has opened three boutiques in Japan, as planned. The three in-store shops span about 1,300 to 1,500 square feet each and are located within the country’s major department stores: at Takashimaya in Nihonbashi, Matsuya in Ginza and Isetan in Shinjuku. Iman, a spokeswoman for De Beers, was on hand for pre-opening celebrations Tuesday, including a gala dinner and performance by American singer Jade Anderson. The design and product assortment of the boutiques are similar to the London unit, which opened on Bond Street last November. A De Beers LV unit is slated to open in Manhattan on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in the second half of 2004.

  • A MAYOR SALES EVENT: Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped launch an eight-day campaign to drive New York City’s retail sales through promotions at a news conference held in Herald Square Wednesday. Starting Sunday, more than 200 retailers across the five boroughs will offer price promotions. For example, during the drive, three Champion sweatshirts will sell for $20 at Modell’s Sporting Goods. Retailers participating in the program, including Macy’s and Modell’s, will be featured in a special section in Sunday’s New York Daily News. The Mayor said the city’s retailers employ 260,000 people and pay wages of $10.5 billion.

  • BON-TON BIDS BACK: The Bon-Ton Stores late Wednesday upped its bid for Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. to $7.25 a share, or 20 cents a share more than the amended bid submitted by Wright Holdings on Tuesday. The latest offer from Bon-Ton, based in York, Pa., values EB at about $95 million, exclusive of debt, about $12 million more than Wright’s altered merger agreement with the Dayton, Ohio-based department store. The battle for EB commenced in June when EB agreed to be acquired by Wright for $6 a share plus the assumption of about $110 million in debt.

  • UNDERWHELMING DEMAND: Permira is having a hard time getting Debenhams shareholders to part with their stock. As of Sept. 9, the second closing date for shareholders to tender their shares, Permira’s acquisitions vehicle, Laragrove Ltd., said it had received just 2.56 percent of the U.K. department store’s stock. Laragrove extended the deadline until Sept. 23. Permira, which bid about $2.4 billion for the store last month, needs more than 50 percent of shares to secure Debenhams and, according to U.K. takeover regulations, must win 90 percent of a company’s shares to have the offer declared unconditional in all respects. As reported, as of Aug. 26, the first closing date for shareholders, Permira had only received 2.22 percent of the existing issued share capital.

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