N.Y. EXTENDS SALES TAX: New York State’s sales tax on clothing and footwear costing less than $110 will remain in place through June 1, 2005, the Department of Taxation and Finance said Friday. It noted there will be a one-week exemption from the 4 percent state portion of the tax Jan. 31 through Feb. 6. A spokeswoman for the Retail Council of New York State said: “What we’re hoping for now is a little bit of consistency in the delivery of the sales tax program going forward in future years so we either have a return to permanent exemption, where we hope all the counties can participate for full exemption, or a consistent delivery of the sales tax holiday as we’ve seen the past two years.” The tax had been dropped in 2000, but was reinstated last year due to budget shortfalls.
FTC APPROVED: Italian eyeglass designer and manufacturer Luxottica Group SpA and U.S. vision care company Cole National Corp. said Friday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved their merger agreement. The transaction is expected to close on Oct. 4. Under its terms, shareholders of Cole National common stock, who approved the merger in July, will receive $27.72 per share from Luxottica Group’s paying agent, Citibank N.A., which translates into a $470 million purchase price. Citibank will mail Cole National shareholders transmittal instructions for the delivery of the shares immediately following the closing date, a statement issued by the two companies said. Milan-based Luxottica Group also owns Sunglass Hut International, LensCrafters Inc. and the Bausch & Lomb sunglasses business. Cole National, headquartered in Cleveland, partners with Pearle Vision franchises and has nearly 2,200 locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.