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December 5, 2011

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Controversial furniture store closes city outlets

A SHANGHAI-based furniture chain at the center of controversy over the source of its products has closed all its outlets in the city for "temporary internal consolidation."

DaVinci Furniture Co Ltd, which faces accusations over claims its Italian furniture is in fact made in China, did not say when its stores will reopen.

Company officials said they will continue to provide after-sales service but will not be selling goods for the time being.

And they said the four stores won't open until higher management authorizes it.

Meanwhile, local courts seem no closer to hearing a case from consumers suing DaVinci for allegedly lying over where its furniture is made.

In August, more than 40 consumers in Shanghai took steps to launch a lawsuit against the company with the help of the Yingke Law Firm Shanghai.

They demanded compensation totaling 1.5 million yuan (US$232,920) from DaVinci, claiming the company did not resolve concerns over where its furniture was produced.

Three months on, however, the lawsuit still hasn't started. The law firm was not available for comment yesterday.

In July, China Central Television alleged that some furniture that DaVinci claimed was made in Italy was actually manufactured in China, transported to Italy and then shipped back to China in order to qualify for a "Made in Italy" label.

The accusations received widespread publicity, but DaVinci dismissed them.

In a statement issued last week, the company claimed that CCTV's report was "a false story."

After CCTV's report, local entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities started to investigate the company's Customs record, but haven't drawn a final conclusion.

Meanwhile, the company is planning a lawsuit against Guangdong STAR TV as it ran a similar story recently. DaVinci claims the TV station is out to destroy its reputation.


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