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SEARS’ NEW ARENA: Sears, Roebuck & Co. has decided on the name for a new arena in its hometown of Hoffman Estates, Ill.: the Sears Centre. The retailer is building the 11,000-seat, multipurpose arena with developer The Ryan Cos. in the Hoffman Estates’ Prairie Stone Business Park. The arena will often be devoted to hockey, with a new United Hockey League franchise team to be based at the Sears Centre beginning in 2006, but will also host theater productions, soccer and basketball games, concerts and conferences. The arena is expected to attract 750,000 visitors to more than 135 events annually, the retailer said.

MORE PLUSES AT OLD NAVY: Gap Inc.’s Old Navy division has expanded its women’s plus-size line to more than 150 domestic locations, in addition to being available online. Sizes 16 to 26 can be found in three-pocket blazers, three-quarter-length cardigans, cuffed denim capris and related accessories, the company said Monday. Old Navy first announced in mid-July that plus sizes would be available at 50 stores as well as on oldnavy.com. The apparel includes fabric details, such as stretch and side paneling, for comfort.

NEW RETAIL INDEX: Market News International on Monday launched a weekly retail sales index, which will track company statements from the U.S. retail sector and provide a reference index to measure week-to-week change.  Its first week of comparison for a sample of 206 companies show same-store sales are up 3 percent compared with 2.3 percent in last week’s sample of 174. Market News International is a division of Xinhua Finance.

WET SEAL CLASS ACTIONS CONSOLIDATED: A California federal court consolidated several lawsuits seeking class-action status against The Wet Seal Inc. The Foothill Ranch, Calif-based company said it received the consolidated class-action complaint from the court-appointed lead plaintiffs. The suit accuses the company, former directors, and both former and current officers of “making material misstatements of fact or failing to disclose material facts,” relating to losses in the Wet Seal division. The suit has yet to be certified as a class action.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.