ZALE INQUIRY: The Securities and Exchange Commission has started an investigation into certain accounting practices of Zale Corp., the specialty jewelry retailer announced in a statement Monday. The probe is looking at accounting for extended service agreements, leases and accrued payroll. The firm said subpoenas have sought materials related to accounting as well as executive compensation and severance, earnings guidance, stock trading and the timing of certain vendor payments. Zale said in the statement that its accounting is in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles. The company said it is cooperating with the SEC investigation.

LIMITED PICKS BERSANI: Limited Brands Inc. has promoted Jamie Bersani, a 20-year Limited Brands real estate executive, to head its retail real estate team. As executive vice president, retail real estate, Bersani is responsible for execution of all retail real estate transactions, reporting to Mark Giresi, executive vice president, retail operations. Bersani joined Limited Brands in 1986 as a real estate director and in 1995 was named vice president, real estate. In 2000, Bersani was appointed senior vice president, retail real estate. "We are very excited to be able to have the benefit of [Bersani's] relationships within the enterprise and across the nation to support our growth strategy," Giresi said in a statement Monday.

FASHION ON PASSIONS: Anyone who works in fashion knows it can be a real soap opera, but now the tables are turning. NBC Daytime is launching Crane Couture, its first sportswear collection and one inspired by Emily Harper's Fancy Crane character on "Passions." In real life, it was head of wardrobe for "Passions" Diana Eden — not Harper — who worked with Delivery Agent, an agency that creates and manages Web sites that sell products on TV and other entertainment venues, to develop the collection. At different times during the soap, "snipes" will run along the bottom of the screen, directing viewers who like Fancy's clothes to check out

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