Welcome back to The Spin! Last night, New York Fashion Week started with a bang. Tom Ford kicked off the event with strong shoulders and a pink party. We also feature Gap's major shift in focus, Alibaba's planned high-tech shopping mall, and Dov Charney's views on what went wrong at American Apparel. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


Shifting focus. Over the next three years, US fashion retailer Gap Inc will close 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic stores and open 270 Old Navy and Athleta branches, thus growing its network by 70 stores. Under the new strategy, the San Francisco-based company plans to increase net sales at Old Navy to over $10 billion and at Athleta to $1 billion.

More Mall. Following several investments in brick-and-mortar retail businesses, Alibaba is ready to open its own, high-tech shopping mall. Located near its headquarters in Hangzhou, the five-story “More Mall” shopping center is scheduled to open in April 2018. Over the past two years, the Chinese online giant has invested in electronics  and supermarket  chains, and has fully taken over the Beijing-based retailer and mall operator Intime  Retail.

Less M&S. Marks & Spencer is mulling the closure of its Covent Garden store in 2018. Under its new Chairman, turnaround veteran and former Asda CEO Archie Norman, who just took the helm at the embattled British department store chain, the company is changing its UK store estate and plans to improve its apparel and home stores. In August, M&S announced its plan to sell its 27 stores in Hong Kong and Macau to Dubai-based franchise Partner Al-Futtaim.


Pink party. Last night, Tom Ford returned to New York Fashion Week - and to a regular fashion schedule - with a bang. The multi-talented designer and filmmaker showed a strong shouldered collection with strong American sportswear classics like bombers and jeans interpreted in his super sexy handwriting. The event drew a slew of celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Julianne Moore, and Liev Schreiber.


New networks... Due to the increasing relevance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cloud computing, Walmart is planning to build its own Deep Neural Network (DNN) clusters on the Walmart Cloud. At about a tenth of Amazon’s AMZN-AWS GPU cloud, Walmart’s Nvidia GPU Farm will allow the retail giant to build neural networks to train AI systems with current and future applications.

...and broken clouds. Target is also moving to distance itself from Amazon’s cloud-based services. In August, the discounter announced that it was scaling back its use of AWS. Among the vendors vying for its business is Microsoft Azure, while Google and Oracle are also increasing their cloud offerings.


Coming home. Abercrombie & Fitch has named Scott Lipesky Senior Vice President and CFO, effective October 2. This is not his first run at the New Albany, Ohio-based company. Between 2007 and 2016 he worked himself up from Assistant Treasurer for Abercrombie & Fitch to CFO of the Hollister brand, before taking the same job at the privately-held home furnishings company American Signature Inc. At A&F, he succeeds and reports to COO Joanne Crevoiserat, who continued to hold the CFO position after her promotion to COO in February.

Making a case. The founder and former CEO of the American Apparel (AA) brand, Dov Charney, shares his views on AA’s downfall, his plans for his new company, Los Angeles Apparel, and why he thinks bricks-and-mortar retail will remain relevant. He also emphasizes (video) that apparel production in the US can be profitable and is better for the creative process.


Amuse jardin. French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH plans to convert Paris’ 157-year-old Jardin d'Acclimatation into one of France's top amusement parks. In partnership with the theme parks and ski resorts developer Compagnie des Alpes, LVMH will modernize 25 existing rides and add 17 new attractions. The goal is to increase visitors from two to three million by 2025. LVMH will invest €60 million in the renovation of the space in the Bois de Boulogne, which it has been managing since 1984.


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