• NEW SHOES FOR GUCCI: As the fashion world continues to ponder the future of Gucci sans president and chief executive Domenico De Sole and creative director Tom Ford, the Italian luxury goods giant is bolstering its manufacturing base with an acquisition. A Gucci spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the company has bought 70 percent of shoe company Pigini for an undisclosed sum. Pigini, based in the central Italian region of Le Marche, has worked as a supplier for Gucci for about 20 years. The company is known for its high-quality products and a high tech plant built a year ago. Gucci has been working to beef up its shoe business over the last few years. In the first half of 2003, Gucci shoes generated$105.97 million in sales and were the third biggest product category for the Gucci brand after leather goods and ready-to-wear.

  • SHORT BREAK: The World Trade Organization has given the U.S. a 10-day reprieve before allowing the European Union to start levying more than $2 billion in punitive duties on U.S. imports of apparel, citrus steel and other products. The new Dec. 15 deadline gives President Bush more time to decide whether to lift U.S. duties he imposed two years ago to shelter American steel mills from low-cost foreign competition. The WTO has since ruled in the EU’s favor in declaring the U.S. steel tariffs as contrary to the global trade body’s fairness rules.

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