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Explosives Discovered at Paris Dept. Store

BY CSA STAFF

Paris According to a report in the International Herald Tribune, French police found a package of explosives at the Printemps department store complex in central Paris on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman at Paris police headquarters said a warning about the explosives had been sent Tuesday morning to the French news agency Agence France-Presse, which alerted the police.

A previously unknown group demanding the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan claimed to have planted the explosive devices. Officials said that five sticks of dynamite had been found.

Employees of Printemps said the store had been on high alert for several days.

The discovery of the explosives at the height of the Christmas shopping season threw the area into confusion, with traffic backed up as the police cordoned off streets around Printemps. The store, on the elegant Boulevard Haussmann in the heart of one of the French capital’s main shopping districts, is packed with shoppers and tourists at this time of year.

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Target goes Thai with new designer

BY CSA STAFF

In one of the more highly anticipated launches of its GO International Collection, Target next week will introduce a new line of swimwear and apparel from Thakoon Panichgul.

Born in Thailand and raised in Omaha, Neb., since the age of 11, Panichgul is a designer who burst on the fashion scene in 2004, and quickly rose to prominence in fashion circles. He gained notoriety this fall when Michele Obama wore one of his dresses as she shared the stage with her husband after his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. The dress she wore that evening cost upwards of $1,000, and Panichgul’s other designs cost even more at retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Prices at Target will range from $16.99 to $44.99.

“Thakoon Panichgul is an extraordinary design talent with a keen eye, whose brilliantly priced collection is sure to please our guests,” said Trish Adams, senior VP at Target. “His silhouettes are trend-forward with an urban femininity, providing chic looks at a great value.”

GO International is a program squarely aligned with Target’s “expect more, pay less” brand promise, as it provides customers access to exclusive product created by well-known designers for a fraction of what they would pay in high-end department stores. The product offering also brings excitement, newness and a sense of urgency to the apparel department, since the collection only is available for a limited time.

Prior to Panichgul, Target partnered with American designer Richard Chai, whose designs were offered throughout August. And in October, it was Scottish-born designer Jonathan Saunders whose limited edition designs were found in Target.

According to the company, its newest line, called Thakoon for Target, provides a contemporary take on classic resort must-haves, with stunning graphic prints and a colorful palette.

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KB’s loss could be Target’s gain

BY CSA STAFF

As one of the nation’s largest toy retailers, Target is poised to benefit from the demise of KB Toys, as the toy specialist’s filing for Chapter 11 will likely result in the elimination of toy selling capacity.

KB Toys became the latest retailer to fall victim to the difficult economy when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following a significant drop in sales at its 277 stores. The retailer reported that same-store sales from the period between Oct. 5 and Dec. 8 fell nearly 20%. In its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, KB stated that it had debts between $100 million and $500 million and total assets in the same range.

The company said that it plans to close all of its stores and begin liquidation sales in the middle of the holiday season.

Back in January 2004, KB filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 after a dismal holiday selling period, only to later to emerge from bankruptcy in August 2005. This time around, the retailer isn’t waiting to see how the holidays turn out. Though the season is a critical time for most toy retailers, according to The NPD Group, toy sales are expected to be flat or down slightly from last year, so KB isn’t holding its breath.

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