Jan
 25
 2018



Ulrike

Hello,

Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Spin! Today we check out what Amazon's increased fees for third-party apparel sellers might indicate about the company's own fashion ambitions. We also look at the impact of tightened assortments in luxury retail on off-price marketeers, and tell you why the Dutch police is on the lookout for kids in Gucci garb. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike



retail

Cleaning house. Just days after Amazon increased the monthly US Prime membership fee by 18 percent, the online giant is hitting third-party merchants by raising seller fees for fashion retailers, possibly to support its own efforts in the category. Amazon elevated the fees for items in the Clothing & Accessories category from 15 to 17 percent, for handbags and sunglasses retailing for more than $75 from 15 to 18 percent, and for jewelry to 20 percent on the first $250 of the retail price, with an additonal 5 percent after.


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Dissing the discount. Following years of declining margins and profits, large US brands and retailers including Michael Kors (earnings call transcript), Ralph Lauren and the Gap group are scaling back on the heavy discounts their customers have become so accustomed to. Simultaneously, they have been cleaning up their inventory, which is bad news for off-price retailers who used to snap up excess merchandise.


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Getting it done. Following protests, Amazon had to pull an array of items with "Slavery gets shit done" prints from its assortment. Offers by third-party retailers included bibs for babies, T-shirts, bags and mugs. According to Amazon, these items did not match the online giant's selling guidelines, with accounts of violators subject to potential removal.


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people

From Burberry to Ralph Lauren. Alice Delahunt has been named Chief Digital Officer at Ralph Lauren Corporation, effective April 1. In this newly created position, Delahunt, who currently serves as Global Director of Digital and Social Markeing at Burberry, is supposed to elevate (press release) the company’s global digital platforms and enhance the digital experience for consumers across all channels to drive consumer acquisition, retention, value and revenue. She will report directly to CEO Patrice Louvet.



Deepening digital. To strengthen the digital team, Ralph Lauren promoted Laura Porco from Senior Vice President eCommerce at Club Monaco to the same position at Ralph Lauren North America. Her prior job went to Galen Hardy, who comes from MK-K and has previously been with Zappos.com for over nine years. Ralph Lauren’s digital boost started last July, when Valeria Juarez, who served as SVP for eCommerce EMEA had been promoted to SVP Digital Commerce International.





markets

Taxing issues. Since most US retailers largely operate domestically, they are bound to benefit from reduced corporate tax rates. But the US tax reform also includes a limit on the amount of interest expense that can be deducted against income, constraining highly leveraged companies. As a result, experts expect both an increased number of corporate takeovers, investments in automation and stock buybacks as well as more lay-offs and a stronger acceleration of bankruptcies.



King pins. Most marketers just measure the number of times an influencer's product post gets liked or commented on, neglecting the fact that many get re-posted on other social platforms. This habit severely reduces the view of the broader impact. A Forever 21 post on Instagram, for example, generated an earned media value of $21,563 for the brand. When pinned on Pinterest as well, the same content earned an additional $121,050.



Dressed to kill. In a controversial pilot program, members of the Dutch police force are going to confiscate (in Dutch) luxury clothing from youngsters who they believes could not legally afford it. Among items on top of the watch list are Rolex watches and Gucci jackets, which are going be taken from suspects right on the street. In the past, police already looked at cars to determine possible criminal action. Critics slam the program as racial profiling and doubt that it's legal to confiscate anything.





last

White on black. "How to Slay: Inspiration from the Queens & Kings of Black Style" is a new coffee-table book on the broader influence of black fashion. Written by the former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, Constance White, it examines (paywall) black style icons from Aretha Franklin to Michelle Obama as well as black style subjects including "natural hair and other crowns". The 220-page book will be released on February 6 by Rizzoli.







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