WAL-MART SLIDES: Wal-Mart slipped into fourth place from first place the last two years in Fortune’s annual ranking of “America’s Most Admired Companies.” Taking over the first-place slot was Dell (which last year came in at number five), followed by GE at number two and Starbucks in third place. Asked if Wal-Mart was disappointed about its downgrade, Dan Fogleman, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, said, “We’ve been fortunate to have had that [first-place] position for the last two years. Our associates are very honored to have that distinction. We’re very pleased for this year’s winner. We hope the associates there enjoy the fruits of their labor as we have.” In the same issue, Fortune ranked most-admired companies within various industries, and in apparel, Liz Claiborne took top honors, followed by Nike, VF, Polo Ralph Lauren, Jones Apparel Group, Reebok International, Kellwood, Phillips-Van Heusen, Levi Strauss and Warnaco. Some 10,000 executives, directors and security analysts were surveyed for the issue, which hit newsstands Monday.

PERRY GOES TROPICAL: Perry Ellis International Inc. said Monday it had completed its $88.5 million acquisition of the domestic operating assets of Tropical Sportswear International. The purchase price might still be adjusted to reflect Tropical’s accounts receivable and inventory. Since December, Tropical has been operating under Chapter 11 protection. To fund the acquisition, PEI increased the size of its senior credit facility, the agent for which is Congress Financial. The facility was bumped up to $175 million from $110 million and expires in October 2007.

NEW POST AT TESTONI: A. Testoni, the Bologna, Italy-based accessories firm, has appointed Takashi Fukae as a group vice president, East Asia. Until December, Fukae was managing director and chief operating officer of Bulgari Japan Ltd. The Asian market is a strong sector for Testoni, and Fukae’s appointment is part of the company’s efforts to reinforce and centralize top management in conjunction with the brand’s relaunch.

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