GREEN BUY: English retail tycoon Philip Green has purchased the struggling U.K. arm of the French retailer Etam for an undisclosed price. Green, owner of retailers such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and British Home Stores, purchased Etam from chairman Pierre Milchior, whose family controlled the brand. Analysts estimate he paid 10 million pounds, or $18.8 million at current exchange, for the brand. In a telephone interview with WWD, Green said he plans to convert some of Etam’s 213 stores into BHS units and sell labels such as Etam’s Tammy children’s wear and Etam Plus brands in BHS stores. He said Etam’s value is in a “mix” of real estate sites and in-house brands. Etam’s U.K. arm was put up for sale by Etam Developpement in January. The company, which has a staff of 3,600 in the U.K., has been losing 25 million pounds, or $47 million, each year. Etam is a French fast-fashion retailer best known for its lingerie.
MARRAS QUITS: Les Copains confirmed an Italian press report that Antonio Marras has prematurely terminated his contract to design Trend Les Copains, which was due to expire with the spring 2006 collection. Mario Bandier, owner and chairman of Bologna-based BVM, the parent company of Les Copains, said Marras’ decision stemmed from the fact that the designer has a full plate between his namesake line, partly owned by BVM, and Kenzo. Starting with the spring collection, he will be succeeded by Antonio Berardi, who already designs the more mainstream Les Copains line.