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SWEDE SPOT: IKEA, the $5 billion Swedish home furnishings chain, is eyeing the former Louis, Boston site on the northwest corner of 57th Street and Lexington Avenue for its first Manhattan store. “We want to come to Manhattan, but we are still negotiating,” said a spokeswoman. She confirmed the former Louis men’s store is being considered.
The chain sells moderate-priced furnishings, generally in 200,000-square-foot settings which include cafeterias. However, in Manhattan it may have to forgo the Swedish meatballs, considering real estate limitations. Louis had only 20,000 square feet over three levels, and lasted just under three years on the site.

SWEET PEA: Mothers Work, a Philadelphia-based maternity wear retailer, said Monday it consummated a definitive agreement to acquire A Pea in the Pod Inc. for $5.50 a share in cash, or $23.9 million.
Pea in the Pod shares jumped 1 5/16, or 32.8 percent, in over-the-counter trading on the news. Mothers Work Stock closed at 11 1/4, up 1/4 over the counter.
Pea in the Pod, based in Irving, Tex., lost $471,000 on sales of $11.8 million in the third quarter ended Oct. 29. In the fourth quarter, same-store sales fell 7.7 percent and earnings have not been reported.
Rebecca Matthias, president and chief operating officer of Mothers Work, said 66-unit Pea in Pod might undergo a name change, but no decision has been made. Mothers Work operates 190 stores and manufactures most of its career, casual and special occasion maternity wear.

WHOLESALE GROWTH: Moving to expand its wholesale distribution, Claire’s Stores Inc. Monday named Allen A. Steinberg president of RS Distributing Corp., a new unit of the accessories retailer.
Les Dunavant, executive vice president of store operations for nine years, has succeeded Steinberg as president and chief operating officer of the Claire’s Boutiques division. Steinberg and Dunavant report to Rowland Schaefer, chairman and chief executive officer.
RS Distributing was formed last week to explore wholesale opportunities for all Claire’s accessories with department stores, specialty stores or other retailers, according to a spokesman. Previously, Claire’s had a “limited” wholesale business distributing hair accessories to beauty salons, he said. Claire’s operates more than 1,200 stores.

PRESIDENTIAL PROMOTION: QVC Inc., the $1.4 billion cable TV home shopping network, has promoted Douglas S. Briggs to president. The title was last held by Michael Boyd, who retired in 1993.
Briggs has been executive vice president, overseeing daily responsibilities and had already assumed Boyd’s duties. Briggs is also president of QVC Electronic Retailing, which operates subsidiaries of QVC Inc.
Comcast Corp. owns 57.4 percent of QVC and Tele-Communications Inc.’s Liberty Media Corp. unit owns about 42.6 percent of QVC.

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