PROMISE KEPT: Affiliates of Soros Private Equity Partners made good on a March 2003 standby commitment to Bluefly Inc. by investing an additional $1 million in the internet retailer through the purchase of Series E convertible preferred stock. The convertibles can be changed into common stock at the holder’s option at any time after the conversion provisions are approved by the company’s stockholders at a rate of 76 cents per share and will earn dividends at the rate of 12 percent a year. Soros, which in total has invested more than $50 million in Bluefly, now owns a 76.5 percent stake in the company’s equity on a diluted basis.
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
SWEET HOME: Marks & Spencer has unveiled plans to revitalize its home furnishings business. The company said in a statement its first freestanding home store will be called Marks & Spencer Lifestore, and is due to open in Gateshead, Newcastle, England next spring. A full-sized, two-story house will be built inside the store by the minimalist architect John Pawson — who also is designing the store interior. Every year, a different architect will design a new model home to express a modern lifestyle. Vittorio Radice, who joined M&S this year as executive director of the home business, also plans to organize the store around rituals rather than departments, and said merchandise will cover such activities as entertaining, resting and traveling. “The way we curate and edit our homes has changed so much in the last 30 years,” Radice said. “The M&S Lifestore will show people that we can go a step further, and rely on our own judgment to create something really personal.”
RETAIL REAL ESTATE AVAILABLE: The Walt Disney Co. is considering selling its Disney Store chain in North America and Europe, following its sale of Disney stores in Japan to Oriental Land Co. Ltd., operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort, in 2001. Peter Whitford, president of the chain, has resigned. Disney has been closing North American stores and has about 380 currently. It once had over 520 in North America. There are 548 worldwide