• WATCH OUT: In another sign of a difficult watch market, Swiss maker Ebel said it would lay off 24 of its 269 employees, most of them production workers. The firm, owned by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, cited tough times in the first half due to the impact of the Iraqi conflict and SARS. This month, Compagnie Financière Richemont AG said it would slash 200 positions — or 5 percent — of the group’s Swiss-based watch-manufacturing workforce.

  • LANA LAUNCH: Herb Frichner has joined Lana Fashionwear Inc. as a partner in a new better/bridge sport outerwear division. The division has yet to be named. First deliveries are set for next spring. Frichner was president and owner of Panache Inc., a better outerwear firm. Lana, a private label manufacturer supplying such retailers as Saks Inc., Lands’ End, Orvis, New York & Co. and Limited Brands, also operates the Lana Winer International and Kazu Apparel Group divisions. It has factories in Hong Kong, China, Guatemala and Kenya, and design, textile and product development offices in New York.

  • CARIBBEAN JOE’S NEW WAVE: Caribbean Joe, the moderate lifestyle brand, is expanding into men’s swimwear and children’s apparel. Apparel Holdings Group, which owns the Caribbean Joe brand, has licensed the men’s swimwear to DDK International and the children’s line to Mamiye Bros. Under the terms of the new licenses, both new lines will be available in department and specialty stores in the U.S. beginning in spring 2004. Ken Sitomer, principal of Apparel Holdings, said: “With immediate plans to sign several other major licenses, Apparel Holdings Group will continue toward its goal of building Caribbean Joe into a complete lifestyle brand.”

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