BAHRAIN FTA INKED: The U.S. and and the Middle East island nation of Bahrain on Tuesday penned a free trade agreement that must be approved by Congress. The two countries traded about $900 million in goods last year. Bahrain’s apparel exports, mostly in cotton clothing, accounted for less than half a percent of all garments imported into the U.S. In turn, U.S. textile mills exported about $1.1 million in mostly industrial fabrics to Bahrain and about $660 million in apparel.

EXECS BACK KERRY: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry picked up endorsements Tuesday from executives at 30 sportswear or sporting goods companies. According to a list provided by the Kerry campaign, his new backers include Peter Bragden, vice president and general counsel at Columbia Sportswear, Portland, Ore.; Patagonia Inc.’s chief executive officer, Michael Crooke, and Brian Bennett, director of national accounts at the Ventura, Calif. company; Gordon Seabury, president of Horny Toad Activewear, Santa Barbara, Calif; Steve Barker, ceo, Eagle Creek Travel Gear, San Diego; Tony Post, president, Vibram, Concord, Mass.; Joan Keller, president, Le Travel Store, San Diego, and Dan Nordstrom, ceo of Outdoor Research, Seattle. The executives named couldn’t be reached for immediate comment.

NY&CO. SETS IPO PRICE: In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, New York & Company Inc. said it was looking to sell 10 million common shares at a price of $14 to $16 per share in an initial public offering. Proceeds of the sale will be used to pare down debt. The lead underwriter is Bear Stearns & Co. In the filing, the retailer said profits were $4.1 million for the six-month period ended July 31 on sales that totaled $494.9 million. The firm operates 474 stores in 43 states.

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