CROSSING THE POND: Brooks Brothers on Tuesday said it has entered into a joint venture with Brightark Ltd. of London to create Brooks Brothers United Kingdom, a vehicle for opening stores in the U.K. and Ireland. Brooks Bros. U.K. plans to open several stores within the next five years. The first, a 3,200-square-foot unit, will open at the end of the month at Lion Plaza in London’s financial district. The company said it’s in negotiations to secure space for a flagship on Regent Street that would open in the spring.

CARR JOINS COACH: Janet A. Carr has been named vice president of consumer insights and strategic planning at Coach Inc. Carr had been with Gap Inc., where she held the same title and was responsible for focusing on business performance and consumer needs, as well as identifying practical strategies to increase business in Asia and Europe and strategically aligning all three Gap brands: Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. The position incorporates some of the responsibilities held by Kate Buggeln, who was senior vice president of strategic planning and new business development. Buggeln left the company about a year ago.

BILLION DOLLAR BUYBACK: TJX Cos. Inc.’s board approved a $1 billion stock buyback program. This means that about 10 percent of its outstanding shares will be authorized for repurchase. The authorization is in addition to the $97 million remaining in the company’s existing $1 billion buyback authorization, which was approved in May 2004 and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter. The company said in a written statement that it plans to repurchase $600 million of TJX stock in fiscal 2006. “This new authorization reflects our confidence in the successful growth of the company. Our core businesses and the off-price concept remain fundamentally strong, and we have substantial opportunities to deliver excellent overall performance,” Bernard Cammarata, chairman and acting chief executive officer of TJX, said in the statement. Framingham, Mass.-based TJX said it spent $4.15 billion since 1997 buying back 283 million shares of stock.

HOTEL HONCHO: Serge Weinberg, the former PPR executive, has been named chairman of the supervisory board of Accor, the French hotel operator. Weinberg left PPR this spring when François-Henri Pinault took the top spot at the French retailer, which also controls Gucci Group. Weinberg then founded a venture capital firm, Weinberg Capital Partners, which he will continue to manage. Accor runs the Sofitel, Novotel and Mercure chains, among others.

This story first appeared in the October 12, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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