EUROFLASH

DIVERSIFIED INTERESTS — Edizione Holding, the investment arm of the Benetton group, in a 50-50 joint venture with Italian eyewear maker Luxottica SpA, is reportedly poised to acquire hypermarket chain Euromercato from Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest SpA. Fininvest wants to sell Euromercato to raise money to restructure its failing Standa retail chain. According to an Edizione spokesman, talks are set to resume next week, but he declined to discuss details. The price for Euromercato, which had 1994 sales of about $760 million (1.25 billion lire), is estimated to be roughly $585 million (950 billion lire), according to sources familiar with the deal. A Euromercato acquisition would be Benetton/Luxottica’s second move into retail distribution, after the purchase of the GS supermarkets and Autogrill highway snackbars from the Italian government last year. It would make the Benetton/Luxottica venture the third biggest group in Italy’s mass retail market, behind Rinascente and Coop.

OUTLET BOUND — McArthur/Glen, the Washington, D.C.-based developer, has gotten approval from the French government to open an outlet mall near Troyes, France’s capital for factory outlet stores. The site, which will boast 130,000 square feet of selling space, is McArthur’s first development in continental Europe and is slated to open this fall. It is a project of the 1993 joint-venture agreement between McArthur/Glen and BAA PLC, one of the world’s largest international airport operators. Stores will be leased mainly by French apparel brands, according to a McArthur spokesman. In addition to its ongoing activities in the U.K., McArthur is looking at other sites in France and western Europe to develop more malls.

IN THE BAG — Many companies don’t have factory capacity to make all the products sold under their brand name. This is true for Louis Vuitton, which historically has produced about 75 percent of its own leathergoods, while subcontracting out the rest. Vuitton signed a three-year manufacturing agreement last spring with Charles Jourdan, the shoe and leather goods company based in Romans, France. Jourdan created a wholly owned subsidiary, STR, for the production, which started last fall, and Jourdan president Emile Mercier anticipates that it will make 35,000 bags this year generating sales of roughly $7.5 million (40 million francs).

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