• SPADE AT HOME: Kate Spade LLC has signed three licenses for home products that are slated to bow in stores in 2004. Scalamandré will make and distribute Kate Spade woven fabrics, trimmings and wallpaper; Lenox will manufacture Kate Spade tableware, and Springs Industries will develop Kate Spade bedding and bath collections. As reported, the 10-year-old accessories company has planned to enter home for some time and has been looking for licensees. Pricing and other details of the lines are still being determined.

  • CHILE ON THE PLATE: Congress has until September to vote on a Chile free-trade agreement, signed Friday in Miami by President Bush, the second completed FTA in his administration. The Chile pact drops tariffs on all two-way trade for 12 years. While Chile exports less than one-tenth of all foreign apparel sold in the U.S., the pact’s rules of origin for granting duty-free status to apparel are of keen interest to U.S. retailers. To importers’ dismay, the Chile FTA’s strict yarn-forward rule of origin is being pursued by U.S. negotiators in FTA talks with five Central American countries. That means only Central American and U.S. textiles could be used in qualifying apparel. Importers hope a final pact will allow for third-country fabrics and yarns.

  • BALMAIN TALKING: Christian Courtin, president and chief executive of Groupe Clarins, confirmed Friday negotiations are under way to have Balmain take over the factory and stores of its soon-to-be shuttered Thierry Mugler fashion business. Courtin made the disclosure at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting. Until then, both sides had been mum on the subject. Employees of Mugler’s fashion house are slated to convene Tuesday in Paris to learn final details of the shutdown plan. Clarins owns the Mugler trademark, but plans to focus on the fragrance business only.

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