This story first appeared in the January 23, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  • LUXURY LABEL WAR BREWING: Walpole, the U.K. luxury brands lobby that includes Rolls Royce, Dunhill and Jimmy Choo, is fighting plans by the European Union to standardize product labels. The EU is contemplating replacing each country’s own “Made in” label with a mandatory “Made in EU” label. This week, Walpole took out an ad in the Financial Times speaking against the proposal —and promising further action. “This will be a completely unnecessary dumbing down of luxury labels, and will extract value from certain brands,” said Guy Salter, deputy chairman of Walpole and chief executive of Tanner Krolle, the high-end accessories company. “It also takes important information away from the consumer.” Robert Bensoussan, ceo of Jimmy Choo, added, “The U.K., Italy and France have such high standards and traditions of craftsmanship that it’s a pity to put them under a generic ‘Made in EU’ heading. How will the consumer know that the products were not made in Poland, Romania or the Czech Republic?” The press office for EU Trade in Brussels did not return phone calls Thursday.

  • GATOR BITE: Tamara Rosenthal has been named director of marketing for Lacoste USA, a new position. Rosenthal, who was most recently retail sales director at Vogue and, prior to that, director of business development at Salvatore Ferragamo USA, will oversee marketing functions, including public relations, advertising and consumer database strategy. She reports to Robert Siegel, chairman of Lacoste USA. The position was created during the company’s expansion, which includes new stores slated to open this year in Boston, at the Americana Manhasset on Long Island, at Garden State Plaza in New Jersey and at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, Calif.

  • CLOSE CALL: Factory 2-U Stores Inc. said Thursday it filed a motion with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to close 44 of its 239 stores. The San Diego-based off-price retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last week, said liquidation sales would likely start by the middle of February. All 44 stores slated for closure are unprofitable, the firm said, and, in some cases, are located in outlying regions, making it difficult for the company to manage and stock them efficiently.

  • CRYSTAL NEWS: Saying it is exiting the U.S. department store business, crystal manufacturer The Swarovski Group laid off 122 people from its Cranston, R.I., facility on Thursday. As part of its recent rebranding campaign in the U.S., which includes sponsoring fashion shows and the CFDA Awards, the company will cease sales of its jewelry in stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.