This story first appeared in the January 28, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  • MORE FROM DIOR: Christian Dior SA said Tuesday its 2003 sales dipped 5.3 percent to $15.65 billion, or 12.47 billion euros, versus $16.53 billion, or 13.17 billion euros, a year ago. The figures represent organic growth of 5 percent and largely echo the results of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and fashion house Christian Dior Couture, which both reported fourth-quarter and full-year sales figures last week. Christian Dior SA is the holding company for LVMH and Christian Dior Couture. French companies report profits separately. Christian Dior SA estimated operating income at more than 7 percent for 2003 and set a goal for 2004 of “significant growth” in operating income.

  • SEC OK’S Guess Shares Sale: Guess Inc. announced regulators had declared its shelf registration effective, registering the sale of up to 5.7 million shares of the company’s common stock held by the clothing brand’s co-chief executives and majority holders, Maurice and Paul Marciano. Guess announced the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 13. It included up to 2.9 million shares held by Maurice Marciano and up to 2.8 million shares held by Paul Marciano. Portfolio diversification for the Marcianos was cited as a reason for the sale, who together own 68 percent of the company’s stock. With the sale, their stake now falls to about 55 percent.

  • BIG DOG BUY: Sportswear merchant Big Dog Holdings Inc. agreed to buy bankrupt shoe retailer Walking Co. for more than $15 million in cash, debt and equity securities. Big Dog said in a statement that it expects to achieve “substantial operating leverage and cost savings” at the Walking Co. by using its own systems and distribution infrastructure and management team. Walking Co., which sells comfort footwear and accessories under brand names such as Birkenstock and Merrell, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the summer. Consequently, the company shed some nonperforming stores and liquidated some of its inventory. The deal has already received bankruptcy court approval, a spokesman for Big Dog said.