BARNEYS ASKS U.S. COURT TO CONFIRM ARMANI PACT

Byline: Rich Wilner

NEW YORK — Nearly three years after it won an arbitration decision forcing Giorgio Armani to ship to its then-soon-to-open Madison Avenue store, Barneys Inc. asked a federal judge here to confirm that award.
In a petition filed in Manhattan Federal Court Monday, Barneys asked the judge to enter a judgment in line with the retailer’s arbitration victory, which was battled out in Switzerland.
Barneys and Armani agree that both sides have lived up to the arbitration award. Details of the arbitration case were filed along with the petition, but were sealed under a March 1 agreement between the two companies.
Attorneys for Barneys declined to comment Monday on why the petition needed to be filed or on any other aspect of the proceeding.
In a statement, Milan-based Armani SpA said there was no disagreement between it and Barneys concerning the March 1993 arbitration award and that the court action was not unexpected.
“This is a technical filing, which we expected, that essentially confirms the terms of the arbitration agreement under U.S. law,” a company spokesman said. “The suit was originally filed and hashed out in Switzerland, and this is just a matter of putting the ducks in a row on an old story — we’re not in a fight over it, we have respected the terms of the arbitration agreement and are continuing to ship to Barneys.”
Said the spokesman: “It’s essentially to insure the extension of jurisdiction to the U.S.”
The dispute between Armani and Barneys first flared up in 1991 when, in a letter to the rapidly expanding New York chain, the designer said he would refuse to ship to the soon-to-open Madison Avenue store.
At the time, the designer took exception to Barneys’ branches and said he was not impressed with the job the newer stores were doing with their women’s collections.
— Fairchild News Service

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