SUIT DISMISSED: American Apparel, the Los Angeles T-shirt manufacturer with $250 million in annual sales, said a federal judge in Chicago dismissed one of the three sexual harassment lawsuits filed against the company. The lawsuit was filed by a former store manager who alleged there was a hostile work environment decorated with Penthouse magazine covers. American Apparel also said the judge ordered no payment to the plaintiff. American Apparel has been balancing notoriety from the lawsuits and its sexually charged marketing campaign with plans to grow and encourage domestic manufacturing. In addition to the manufacturing operations, it operates more than 80 branded stores in the U.S. and foreign markets, including Japan and France. The other lawsuits were filed in May in Los Angeles Superior Court against the company and its president and chief executive officer, Dov Charney.
TIMBERLAND PURCHASE: The Timberland Co. said it is acquiring the SmartWool Corp., a maker of outdoor-based merino wool socks, for $82 million. SmartWool, founded in 1994 by New England ski instructors who saw the need for performance-based hosiery products, will continue to be based in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and run by president Chip Coe. The company had 2005 revenues of about $42 million and is sold in more than 2,000 doors in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.
BY THE SEA: Global seaborne trade is expected to expand at a rate of 4.3 percent in 2005, about the same as last year, a report by a United Nations agency predicted. In 2004, seaborne trade reached 6.76 billion tons, with Asia accounting for 38.4 percent of goods shipped, mainly due to brisk growth in eastbound Asia-U.S. container volume. Hong Kong remained the world's top container port last year with a 5.3 percent increase in traffic to 21.9 million 20-foot-equivalent units, followed by Singapore, which posted an 11.9 percent increase to 20.6 million TEUs. Shanghai was ranked third with an increase of 28.2 percent to 14.5 million TEUs, followed by Shenzhen, China, with a 27.5 percent hike to reach 13.6 million TEUs. In 2004, global container port traffic increased by 9.6 percent to 303.1 million TEUs.
IF THE SHOE FITS: In honor of Salvatore Ferragamo's store opening in Athens, the company will hold an exhibition of its famous shoes from films, starting today. Styles on display in the new store include the "Audrey," a flat mary jane style made for Audrey Hepburn, the "Pull-over" ankle boot, worn by Sophia Loren circa 1955, and the rainbow suede platform sandal made for Judy Garland in 1938. The exhibition will be on view until Nov. 30.