SANTO RESPONDS: Italian financial magazine Il Mondo has spurred Santo Versace, president of Gianni Versace SpA, to write the publication threatening legal action. That letter was backed up by one from the company’s auditors. An article, published Friday, stated that Versace’s auditors will not approve its business plan and are worried the company’s results have stalled. It also said the three auditors were concerned that Versace’s general director post remained vacant after Giovanni Galbiati left in March, and they believed the company would not be able to pay back a 100 million euro bond to Morgan Stanley by the July 2004 deadline. In response, Santo Versace wrote to the director of Il Mondo saying the article was totally false, and that he reserved the right to pursue legal action. The auditors’ letter also stated that the information in Il Mondo was untrue, and that they hadn’t finished compiling the company’s results. Versace said it hadn’t had a response from Il Mondo, and Il Mondo officials could not be reached for comment.

CALLING ALL SHOPPERS: Rumors that Harrods is on the block continue to swirl. The Observer newspaper in London reported Sunday that Dickson Poon, owner of Harvey Nichols, has privately expressed an interest in buying Harrods. Neither Poon nor Harrods could be reached for comment.

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