PPR SALE: Rexel, the electronics parts subsidiary of Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, said Tuesday that it would sell three companies specializing in the distribution of electronic security equipment to private-equity firm Electra Partners for $125.4 million, converted from euros at current exchange rates. As reported, PPR, controlled by French magnate François Pinault, has been shedding its B2B activities in favor of its higher-margin retail and luxury holdings. PPR controls 62.2 percent of Italy’s Gucci group. PPR has already shed its Guilbert office supplies division, Pinault Boix & Materiaux wood and construction supplies division and Finaref and Facet consumer credit units. It also is expected to divest its entire Rexel subsidiary.
LUCKY BREAK: Condé Nast has hired a publisher for its so-called “Lucky for Men” project. Alan Katz, currently publisher of New York, is leaving Primedia to join the startup. “It’s a smart idea at a good time,” he said. His departure reinforced the feelings of New York staffers that their magazine will be sold, despite repeated denials by Primedia. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” said one high-level New York source.
EXTRA CREDIT: Gadzooks Inc. on Tuesday said that it has doubled its credit line in order to facilitate its transition to selling women’s wear only. The Dallas-based retailer reported that it has obtained a new three-year $30 million senior secured credit facility from Wells Fargo Retail Finance. Gadzooks said the new line of credit replaces its extant $15 million facility and will be used to provide more liquidity as the company exits the men’s wear business in the second half of this year. “We believe the asset-based facility provided by Wells Fargo Retail Finance provides the flexibility and liquidity we need to successfully complete our strategic conversion,” said chief executive Jerry Szczepanski in a statement.
GALLERY GOERS: French retail group Galeries Lafayette said sales in the first quarter ended March 31 rose 4.8 percent to $1.51 billion against $1.44 billion a year ago. Dollar figures are converted from euros at current exchange. At constant exchange and comparable structure, the gain amounted to 3.2 percent. Sales at its department stores inched up 0.3 percent to $649.5 million. Galeries blamed a lack of tourists in Paris for a 4 percent fall at its Boulevard Haussmann flagship, but said other branches in France were up 2.4 percent. Sales at its Monoprix discount and grocery stores rose 4.7 percent to $492.7 million.
This story first appeared in the May 7, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.