BUSY BONDS: Fitch pulled down its rating on Saks Inc.’s senior debt to BB- from BB, citing sagging operations and credit measures and the debt’s “structural subordination” to the firm’s $700 million secured bank facility, which is rated BB+. Moody’s Investors Service placed Kellwood Co.’s senior unsecured debt, currently rated Baa3, on review for possible downgrade.

MORE SOHO FALLOUT: XOXO Clothing Co. of Los Angeles said it will close its store at 426 West Broadway in New York’s SoHo neighborhood by the end of February, one of four units the divisions of Aris Industries currently operates. Aaron Smith, the company’s vice president of marketing, said, “Because of the events of Sept. 11, sales have dropped dramatically.” The closure has also prompted XOXO officials to review their retail strategy. Going forward, the firm has chosen to open mall-based stores only, according to Smith. Sales at its shop at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y., have doubled recently, for example. XOXO is scouting for mall real estate in Los Angeles and on the East Coast. Two freestanding locations on Broadway in New York and on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills will remain in business, as will 16 outlet stores.

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