The CaliforniaMart announced on Jan. 22 that the show would move to April. The decision came at a startling time–less than three weeks before the show was to begin. [http://www.lookshow.com]

According to the Mart, the Fall show was originally supposed to open in March, but its dates were moved to February in order to capture some of the traffic generated by MAGIC, a menswear show scheduled for late February in Las Vegas.

LOOK, which focuses on young contemporary and street-wear resources, was launched as a result of a roundtable meeting Mayor Richard Riordan held a year ago with leaders in L.A.’s apparel industry. The city, which was left without a major apparel trade show after MAGIC moved to Las Vegas, co-sponsored LOOK as part of its effort to attract more retail buyers to the region.

But now, a year after its debut, the Los Angeles trade show will leave its home at the L.A. Convention Center and will be consolidated into the Fall I Los Angeles Fashion Week, scheduled to be held at the CaliforniaMart April 4-8.

“We want to redefine the show,” said a spokesperson from the Mart. “We want to make our April Fall market like the October Spring [California Collections] market,” which ran concurrently with LOOK .

But it is still unclear what buyers and exhibitors can expect from LOOK in April. Officials could not say whether the show would be located in the Cali-forniaMart or in some other location. “We are still in the planning process,” a spokesperson said, adding that there will be an effort to keep LOOK’s funky spirit intact. “We understand that [some LOOK] resources were already located here; therefore, we may have some sort of device that identifies these people as LOOK exhibitors,” she said.

The Mart said the decision to move LOOK was not a financial one, noting that the first two shows were profitable. The Mart also dispelled notions that there were indications of low buyer or exhibitor attendance. As of Jan. 10, 264 exhibitors were signed up for the event. However, the Mart would not release buyer registration numbers.

The young trade show has had a harder time attracting buyers for its Fall dates. XOXO was one manufacturer that decided not to participate in the February show. “When you’re paying out dollars you expect x percentage to return and we, as business people, were looking at this, and [the October numbers] didn’t materialize,” said sales rep Moses Strathern. “It was a flat show.”

Indeed, the change in dates for the show may lure some previous exhibitors back. “[October] was a lonely show,” echoed Robin Foster, owner of the Studio 330 showroom which represents several contemporary lines. “I think the April show is going to be better. They’ve always been concerned about fragmenting buyer traffic, and it makes sense to me to position [the show] closer to the CaliforniaMart.”

News Notes:

Hot Flash!
For live videocam coverage of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Apparel Association Show go to: [http://www.ina.com/alfredo/live.html] throughout show hours Friday, January 24 through Tuesday, January 28!

CLOTHESTIME EXECS STEP DOWN:
Clothestime, the Anaheim, Calif.-based juniors retailer, announced the resignations of John Ortega II, chairman and chief executive officer, and Norman Abramson, president and chief operating officer. The resignations were effective Jan. 17. The troubled retailer has been under bankruptcy protection since December 1995. “The creditors committee [which consists of vendors, bankers and factors] felt that the company needed new management,” said David Sejpal, former vice president and chief financial officer, who succeeded Ortega as company chief. “The company has lost money this year. They were looking for higher sales numbers,” he said. Last year, the company hired New York investment firm Financo to explore a possible sale of the company. Clothestime, which currently operates 335 stores, said it plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection this summer.

QUESTROM LEAVES FEDERATED:
Federated Department Stores announced that Allen Questrom, 57, will resign his post as chairman and chief executive officer in May after a 30-year career with the company. Questrom said he has accomplished what he set out to accomplish–steering the company out of bankruptcy and overseeing the acquisitions and integration of Macy’s and Broadway Stores, which allowed the department store chain to enter California for the first time since 1988.

“The time is right for me to leave,” Questrom said. James Zimmerman, 52, Federated’s president and chief operating officer since 1988, will succeed Questrom. Federated also announced that California native Terry Lundgren, 44, has been named president and chief merchandising officer of the company. Lundgren had been chairman of the company’s New York-based merchandising and product development division since 1994. The management moves will be complete with the close of business at Federated’s May 16 annual shareholders’ meeting. Federated operates 400 department stores and 150 specialty stores, with more than $15 billion in annual sales.

ECHEVESTE DEPARTS DOL:
Maria Echeveste, who worked closely with departing U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the sweatshop campaign, is expected to leave the Department of Labor. An administration official said the move could be made official within the week. Echeveste will move to the White House as director of public liaison, replacing Alexis Herman, President Clinton’s nominee for Labor Secretary. Herman’s confirmation could come as early as February. Seth Harris, currently acting assistant secretary for policy at the department, is expected to replace Echeveste, said the official. DALLAS

UNION TO PAY FINE:
Garment union UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine by a Santa Monica Superior Court Judge on Jan. 17 for two incidents of raucous picketing in front of a Guess? Inc. store at 411 Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The union was found in violation of a preliminary injunction that restricted its protests in front of the store. Protesters allegedly shouted, yelled and made threatening gestures to a Guess employee on two separate occasions at the end of last year. An additional fine of $1,000 was suspended by the judge. “Guess has repeatedly sought contempt in fines. It’s very minor and is almost of no consequence,” said Steve Nutter, head of the union’s West Coast operations. “We’ll take the judge’s order seriously but we don’t agree with it.” The ruling is the latest in the legal wrangling between the manufacturer and the union. UNITE filed a lawsuit against Guess in August 1996 for unfair labor practices and since then has waged an organizing campaign against the manufacturer. Last fall, Guess filed a civil lawsuit against UNITE accusing the union of mounting a smear campaign against the company. Last week, Guess announced it will move most of its production to Mexico and South America, which prompted the union to file unfair labor practice charges, claiming the relocation is in retaliation for its organizing activity at Guess.

MOSSIMO EXPECTS LOW EARNINGS:
Mossimo, based in Irvine, Calif., said it expects to report higher sales but lower-than-anticipated earnings in its fourth quarter and full-year financial periods which ended Dec. 31, 1996. The company said it expects to post 50 percent sales increases–to $27 million in the quarter and $100 million in the year–compared to the same periods a year ago. Per-share figures will likely range between 3 and 8 cents, compared with 19 cents a year ago. Anthony Cherbak, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said price concessions that were made to retailers because of late product deliveries during the holiday season and the company’s rapid growth rate put a strain on its operating systems (which caused the delayed shipments) and negatively impacted the earnings. *