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EXPENSIVE BLACK DRESS: An unidentified telephone bidder on Tuesday paid 410,000 pounds, or $811,900 at current exchange, for the little black dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" at an auction of film memorabilia at Christie's in London. The dress was expected to sell for between $98,000 and $138,000. The sale benefited the City of Joy Aid, a Calcutta-based nonprofit that helps India's underprivileged children.
BURBERRY APPEAL: A member of Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet has made an appeal to Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts, asking her to reconsider the proposed closure of the company's polo shirt factory in Wales. Northern Ireland and Wales Secretary Peter Hain is the latest public figure to voice his opinion about the proposed closure of the plant in Wales' Treorchy, which employs some 300 workers and has been in operation since 1939. A Burberry spokesman declined to comment on Hain's letter to Ahrendts, but said the company was not abandoning its home and still would have two plants in Yorkshire.
TIFFANY'S NEW LOOK: Luxottica SpA has inked a 10-year licensing agreement with Tiffany & Co., marking the jeweler's entry into the eyewear market. The first Tiffany-branded frames are expected to bow in early 2008, the companies said in a joint statement Tuesday. Luxottica said it expects the line to eventually generate annual sales of 50 million euros ($66.6 million at current exchange rates) after an "initial launch period." The companies said the eyewear's distribution will be "selective and exclusive," starting with Tiffany's own stores and other fine retail locations in North America, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, key Middle East markets and Mexico.
WAL-MART EXITS: Two executives have left Wal-Mart's marketing department as the retailer shifts back to core low-price messages amid soft U.S. sales. Julie Roehm, an 11-year veteran of the auto industry, left as senior vice president of marketing communications after less than a year. One of her deputies, vice president of marketing communication Sean Womack, also departed. Both will be replaced, said a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. Roehm handled the firm's U.S. advertising and special events. She was instrumental in the retailer's decision to hire DraftFCB, leaving its agency of record, GSD&M, after a lengthy tenure.