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Intelligencer: December 6-13, 2004

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Sore Feet
The bitter legal battle over a Bloomingdale’s shoe sale.
True shoe justice continues to elude City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell. Last month, he filed a class-action lawsuit against Bloomingdale’s alleging false advertising and fraud after it sent a private-sale mailing to his home that promised 35 to 40 percent off its “enormous fall collection” of footwear. His wife, Lorraine, took the bait, found most of the fall collection not on sale, and paid full price for a pair of Cole Haan loafers. Noting that tracking down and compensating allegedly deceived shoppers would be “fraught with peril,” the suit asked Bloomie’s to reopen the sale. The store agreed, Koppell says, but it “couldn’t guarantee inventory” and “the sale of just a few pairs of shoes would be the same thing all over again.” The retailer, which refused to comment, has since asked a judge to dismiss the portion of the suit demanding another sale and to remove its parent company, Federated Department Stores, as a second defendant. Mrs. Koppell’s solution? A 35- to 40-percent-off spring shoe sale in March. Her husband says, “This is a serious subject. Even though it may appear at first blush to be less than the most pressing problem facing society.”
—Kate Pickert


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