– NO DECISION FOR ESMERIAN: The latest chapter in the court fight between Ralph Esmerian and Merrill Lynch over a soured loan was inconclusive on Wednesday. A hearing in Manhattan Bankruptcy Court is scheduled to continue today on Merrill Lynch’s efforts to auction part of Esmerian’s fine jewelry collection at Christie’s. Esmerian owes Merrill Lynch about $180 million on loans he used to buy the Fred Leighton jewelry business and the portion of his family’s collection he did not already own. He hoped to sell the collection through Leighton and bolster the retailer’s profile. Esmerian put the Leighton business into Chapter 11 Tuesday to prevent the jewels, which were put up as collateral, from being sold. The auction remains on hold.
-L&T PICKS EXECUTIVE: Lord & Taylor has appointed Roger Adams to the new position of senior vice president and chief marketing officer. His duties include brand management, creative and media services, consumer relationship management, market research, consumer insights, Internet marketing and sales promotion. Adams will report to president and chief executive officer Jane Elfers. Adams was chief marketing officer for The Home Depot.
-BAUGUR TO SELL DISCOUNT CHAIN: Baugur, the Icelandic group with stakes in Saks Fifth Avenue, Matthew Williamson and London label PPQ, has appointed consulting firm Deloitte to find a buyer for its ailing British discount fashion chain MK One. Industry sources close to Baugur said the budget brand no longer fit into its upmarket investment portfolio, which includes British high street chains Whistles and Karen Millen. MK One has 172 stores in the U.K., and Baugur said it was hoping to sell the chain quickly. Baugur, which owns an 8.58 percent stake in Saks Fifth Avenue, is streamlining its portfolio. The company this month sold all its noncore media, financial and technology assets to focus on building international retail.
-IDES OF MARCH: Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz on Tuesday said same-store sales in March declined 8 percent as spending slowed in its key European markets and in the U.S. Same-store sales in the same month a year ago gained 17 percent. Overall March sales grew 3 percent, thanks to new openings, H&M said. In February, the fast-fashion giant reported that same-store sales grew 10 percent.