ROYAL FLUSH: Japan's Fast Retailing Co. is negotiating to buy France's Princesse Tam Tam. A spokesman for the Paris-based lingerie firm, which operates 86 Princesse Tam Tam boutiques, said the talks had yet to reach a conclusion. Founded in 1985 by two sisters, Louima and Shama Hiridjee, the brand last year had sales of 51.1 million euros, or $59.8 million. Fast Retailing in June purchased the French contemporary chain Comptoir des Cotonniers.

UNITED REVERSES LOSS: United Retail Group Inc. swung to a third-quarter profit from a loss a year ago thanks to strong same-store sales, solid merchandise margins and closely watched expenses. Earnings in the three months ended Oct. 29 were $1.9 million, or 14 cents, which compared with a loss of $6.3 million, or 49 cents, a year ago. Net revenues rose 6 percent to $98.1 million, while same-store sales rose 8 percent. Year to date, the Rochelle Park, N.J.-based specialty retailer, which runs the Avenue chain of plus-size women's apparel, earned $6.9 million, or 53 cents a diluted share, versus a loss of $11.2 million, or 87 cents, in the year-earlier period. Revenues totaled $319.3 million in the period, an increase of almost 10 percent, as same-store sales were up 11 percent.

GOLDEN GATE'S PURCHASE: San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital is set to close this week on two catalogue acquisitions, Draper's & Damon's and Appleseed's, according to financial sources. Golden Gate is a $700 million private equity firm specializing in buyouts, recapitalizations and leveraged buildups and growth equity investments with transaction sizes ranging from $25 million to $500 million. Golden Gate already owns in its portfolio the catalogue operations of Spiegel and Newport News. Principals at Golden Gate could not be reached for comment.

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