ESCADA’S EYE DEAL: Escada AG has entered a licensing deal with De Rigo, in which the Italian eyewear manufacturer will design, produce and sell the Escada Eyewear Collection. The collection had been produced under license with Paris-based Airess. De Rigo will present its first Escada collection to the trade at the Silmo show in Paris in October, with product to hit stores next spring. In recent months, De Rigo, which is also the licensee for Givenchy, Loewe and Celine, lost several key licenses in the designer eyewear business, including Marc Jacobs and the global license for Fendi eyewear. “With Escada, we found a first-class brand with strong global recognition that will help us in rebalancing our brand portfolio and will strengthen our position in the premium price segment,” chairman Ennio De Rigo said in a statement.

This story first appeared in the July 15, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

MAY DROPS BUYBACK: May Department Stores Co. on Wednesday suspended its $500 million share repurchase program in anticipation of closing its Marshall Field’s acquisition, the company said in a statement. On Tuesday, May priced a $2.2 billion private placement debt offering that will add $4 million in interest expense, or a penny a share, to the company’s second-quarter results. May said the $3.24 billion deal for 62 Marshall Field’s stores and nine Mervyn’s locations will be financed with about $2.9 billion in debt, with the remainder funded by cash and short-term borrowings. In a related development, May told bond holders it will redeem $200 million of 8 3/8 percent debentures maturing in August 2024 on Aug. 1. The early call will result in a third-quarter charge of $10 million, or 2 cents. Under the repurchase program, which commenced in February, May bought back $18 million in common stock. The company also suspended its common stock repurchase program in connection with its employee benefit plans, May said.

STREAMLINING: Freeborders Inc. announced Tuesday that Woolrich Inc., the oldest U.S. apparel maker, will use three of its software programs to manage design, sourcing and production. “Using Freeborders’ integrated solutions to collaborate internally and with suppliers via the Web in real time will help us accelerate all our development processes,” Charles Aides, Woolrich senior vice president of manufacturing and sourcing, said in a prepared statement. San Francisco-based Freeborders makes product lifestyle management, or PLM, software for the apparel industry.