LAZARUS CLOSURES: In a move to cut costs and focus on stronger market opportunities, Federated Department Stores will close three Lazarus units — in Indianapolis and Lafayette, Ind., and Zanesville, Ohio — early this spring. The move will reduce to 45 the number of Lazarus units in operation and to 77 the number of stores included in Federated’s Rich’s/Lazarus/Goldsmith’s division.
SECOND THOUGHTS: Nearly six years after mulling — and then scrapping — plans for an initial public offering, Harrods may once again have its sights set on the stock market. The al-Fayed family, owner of the department store in Knightsbridge, is considering floating a minority stake on the New York stock exchange, according to a Financial Times report on Sunday. The plan would involve a partial listing, one that would allow the family to raise money, but also retain control of Harrods, which saw sales rise 2.2 percent to approximately $852 million in 2000.
COURT BRIEFS: Frederick’s of Hollywood is suing Arthur Andersen for professional negligence and breach of contract, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times on Saturday. The lingerie company claims Andersen’s negligence led Frederick’s to file for bankruptcy protection in 2000, saying that Andersen improperly attempted to be released from any association relating to auditing services for the firm. When Andersen dropped the account, leaving the 1999 audit incomplete, Frederick’s said it was unable to obtain loans due to lack of audit information, according to the report.
CRIMES OF FASHION: New York City’s redoubled efforts against the sale and trafficking of counterfeit merchandise resulted in another high-profile bust when police discovered a trove of counterfeit goods in a Queens warehouse on Dec. 29. Authorities announced Friday that handbags, apparel and sunglasses bearing designer labels such as Fendi, Versace and Christian Dior were discovered by police who were following up a possible burglary report. This follows last month’s indictment of members of the Genovese crime family on racketeering charges, including trafficking of bogus designer accessories.