GETTING HOUSE IN ORDER: Benetton’s shareholders Tuesday approved an internal reorganization plan to boost efficiency and competitiveness at the company. The firm will group together certain operations into three clearly defined units to better reap synergies. Bencom Srl will oversee the legal rights to the company’s brands, which include United Colors of Benetton and Sisley, and their respective commercial activities. Benind SpA will handle production and logistics, while Bentec SpA will house all information technology operations. Benetton has faced increased competition in its home market of Italy with recent entries such as Inditex’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz. Some analysts have said Benetton needs to sharpen its reflexes and become more trend-oriented to better compete.
CHOO’S SHOES: As part of its worldwide expansion plan, Jimmy Choo will open its second London boutique next month, bringing its freestanding store total to 15. Choo opened its first freestanding store in London on Draycott Avenue in Chelsea in 1996. The new 1,200-square-foot store on New Bond Street is designed by Vudafieri Partners & Lena Pessoa of Deuxl Designers. Created to resemble a Forties-inspired boudoir, the store will be arranged in salons with velvet quilted sofas, satin paneled walls and Lucite carved display cabinets all set in soft beige tones. It will showcase the footwear and new handbag line.
SPIEGEL SEEKS A STRETCH: The bankrupt Spiegel Group has asked the U.S. District Court in Chicago for a 126-day extension, to April 7, 2004, to file its quarterly and annual financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As reported, Spiegel had earlier been given until Dec. 3 to supply the material based on questions about the propriety of audit work done by KPMG LLP, which was terminated as Spiegel’s outside auditor on Nov. 17.