FRANKFURT, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Zalando IPO-ZLDO.F, Europes biggest online fashion retailer, is considering shortening the subscription period for its initial public offering due to strong demand, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.

Three financial sources said Zalando would close the books for the IPO one or two days earlier than planned as it is already oversubscribed.

Zalando, which had been expected to list on the Frankfurt exchange on Oct. 1, declined to comment.

In an indication of robust demand, Zalando shares are already trading in the gray market well above the 18.00 to 22.50 euros per share price range set last week. .

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Alexander Huebner; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

  • Over 260 Italian employees have staged a strike at Accenture Telecommunication company in Sicily in an effort to keep their jobs. One of them has gone on a hunger strike in an attempt to put pressure on his employer. Company managers say they may implement job cuts since they are short of financial sources to pay salaries.

Eddie Lampert has a big problem with appliances -- and it's not something a Sears repairman can fix.

The billionaire chairman of Sears faces mounting pressure for financial assurances from the retailer's suppliers, even as he seeks shipments of everything from big-ticket appliances to electronics, housewares and clothing, sources told The Post.

The suppliers -- and the lenders that finance their deliveries -- have grown skittish because Sears has burned through nearly $1 billion in the first half of the year.

The lenders -- called factors in the retail trade -- have restricted credit to the hobbled department store as the crucial holiday season approaches, according to industry insiders.

Lampert -- who is as tight-lipped as he is tight-fisted, critics charge -- finally relented this week to the supplier jitters by using his hedge fund, ESL Investments, to issue a $400 million loan to the cash-strapped retailer he controls.

Wall Street wasn't impressed.

The Lampert loan was seen as a sign of uncertainty about the retailer's business -- as it was secured by 25 real-estate properties owned by the chain.

Sears shares plunged to a 52-week low of $30.16 on Wednesday before closing 9.4 percent lower at $30.37.

Still, fears among suppliers and trade lenders are of more immediate concern to Lampert, who has slashed inventory by more than $1 billion over the past year in a desperate bid to conserve cash.

This year, small and mid-size suppliers privately gripe that they have been hit by canceled and drastically scaled-back orders from the retailer's Sears and Kmart stores.

"Cutting back on what you buy makes an awful lot of sense when you're not selling anything," an executive at one supplier said. "The problem is, there's no positive end-game in that. You need customers to buy more."

Increasingly, Sears appears to be turning to larger, better-financed manufacturers for its inventory, even as it stubbornly refuses to remodel stores, sources said.

Nevertheless, Sears merchants recently "have been complaining that they can't get any appliances," according to an industry source. "People don't want to ship them."

This week's loan is expected to grease the wheels and keep appliances flowing through the holidays. But all bets are off when it comes to next year, financial sources said.

Indeed, commercial lending giant CIT has lately refused to finance some apparel deliveries to Sears beyond Dec. 31.

The firm is tacking on extra fees as it moves to reduce its exposure to Sears, according to several sources.

Asked about such pressure from suppliers and trade lenders, Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite said, "That's not what we're experiencing," but declined to address any specific concerns.

A spokesman for CIT said the firm doesn't comment on individual clients.

With terms from traditional factoring firms like CIT prohibitively expensive, many suppliers have turned to financing alternatives that include credit insurance. Some are even buying credit default swaps from big banks, like JPMorgan Chase, to hedge their Sears risk, sources said.

By allowing an initiative proponent to withdraw their measure closer to the election, it allows for the possibility of reasoned compromise and a better result between the peoples elected government and the peoples initiative alternative, Steinberg said after the governor signed the legislation this week.

Besides providing opportunitues to refine initiative proposals, the law requires the state to post the top 10 donors to campaigns on each side of a proposition, so it will be clearer who benefits from the proposal. And it extends the signature-gathering period from 150 to 180 days.

According to Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters, Senate Bill 1253 is not fundamental change, but procedural tinkering, such as creating a 30-day period for public review and comment before the attorney general issues a title and summary for a proposed measure, and allowing proponents to make changes during that period.

It also requires titles and summaries to be written in clear and concise terms and be objective and nonpartisan responding to allegations that attorneys general have slanted their summaries. And it would give voters, in their official materials, information about the sponsors and opponents of measures and their financial sources.

Since SB 1253 was carried by Democrat Steinberg and is supported by liberal groups, its natural to wonder whether it would, like past reform bills, tilt the system against their conservative rivals.

It appears not.

The bill is also supported by the state Chamber of Commerce and drew some Republican votes. And in the main, it would improve, not eviscerate, what has become, unfortunately, the chief process for making public policy.

When Gov. Hiram Johnson introduced the initiative process in California, it was a good-government reform to let the people pass laws themselves, circumventing the moneyed interests that controlled the Legislature. But moneyed interests have hijacked the system away from grassroots movements.

Steinbergs bill could avoid some of the ballot battles, and at a minimum it should result in clearer, better-reasoned and more transparent ballot measures for voters to decide.

Bay Area News Group