MILAN TRAGEDY: The private Piper plane that crashed Thursday into “il Pirellone,” the city’s tallest building, caused widespread but short-lived panic, and ultimately did not disrupt business in the area. The building, which houses the main offices of the Lombard region, was struck at 5:45 p.m., when most offices were already shutting down for the day and people were on their way home. Initial reports of terrorism and the wail of sirens caused a scare, but that was tempered when the crash was ruled an accident due to the pilot’s loss of control. The plane was en route from Switzerland to Milan’s Linate airport. Commotion notwithstanding, in Milan’s fashion center, retail business continued as usual — if anything, the streets of the Golden Triangle were even more crammed than usual with people trying to access cell phone service to find out what had happened.
BLAND RISES AT URBAN BRANDS: Urban Brands, the Secaucus, N.J.-based operator of 235 stores catering to African-American and Hispanic women under the Ashley Stewart and Marianne nameplates, respectively, has promoted Robert S. Bland to chief executive officer. Bland, who was chief operating officer, joined the privately held retailer in 1999 from Dots Stores, where he had been executive vice president. Before that, he was vice chairman of Ann Taylor Stores Inc. Urban Brands’ Ashley Stewart division is poised to open 14 stores on May 2, and another 14 units this fall.