Happy Thursday and welcome to a new edition of The Spin. Today, Ulrike Howe puts the spotlight on Europe's first Saks Off 5th flagship which opens today in Düsseldorf. We also highlight how Macy's single-handedly brought down US retail stocks, and how the retail crisis currently affects the consignment sector. Enjoy the read and feel free to share!


New kid on the block. Rarely did the arrival of a retailer rattle Germany’s retail industry as much as today’s opening (in German) of the first European Saks Off 5th flagship store in Düsseldorf’s prestigious Carsch Haus. On 3500 sqm the flagship (image gallery) groups its off-price fashion offerings by product categories, sizes and colors. Simple black fittings and a broad layout create an environment slightly more upscale than that of Germany’s off-price leader, TK Maxx. Canadian owner Hudson's Bay Company sees the potential for about 40 Saks Off 5th locations in Germany which experts consider highly ambitious. The next German stores are going to open in Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Heidelberg and Stuttgart followed by Dutch cities Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

Macy’s meltdown… As a result of Macy’s lukewarm business forecast, the entire US retail sector plunged 5%-8% with Macy’s stock clocking in at $21,90, down 8.2%. To maximize the value of its existing locations the company considers the sale of space and the creation of small shop-in-shops to be rented. In San Francisco, for example, menswear has been moved to the flagship from a separate location, which was then sold. For the New York flagship Macy's considers the transformation of the rooftop into a bar or restaurant.

…and growth plans. To spruce up Macy’s assortment, newly minted CEO Jeff Gennette plans to grow the share of exclusive merchandise from 29% to about 40% by 2020, while "extreme editing" should increase the appeal of the assortment. To stabilize (paywall) the brick-and-mortar business, the "Backstage" off-price concept will be expanded to 45 doors by the end of 2017. In addition, Gennette plans to test new technologies including self-service and self-checkout.


Puma promotes Raliza Koleva. Sports giant Puma has named Dr. Raliza Koleva Chief Compliance Officer, with immediate effect. She takes over from Tobias Jansen who has reduced his purview and stays on as Senior Manager Risk and Internal Audit Services. Koleva reports to Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden. As Head of Governance, the 38-year-old retains (in German) her advisory role for the Managing Directors and the Board of Directors at Puma SE on corporate governance issues. In this capacity, she reports to Jochen Lederhilger, Global Director Legal Affairs. Koleva has been working in Puma’s legal department since 2014.


The emperors’ new clothes. Both fashion czar Ralph Lauren and J. Crew’s Millard Drexler have seen their companies lose touch with their increasingly demanding customer base. Now, the two companies have brought in younger, successful executives from other industries. Patrice Louvet joined Ralph Lauren from P&G, while James Brett will move to J. Crew form the hip furniture retailer West Elm. As outsiders they might be able to do, what the enigmatic fashion leaders couldn’t: Make the customer king.


Hey, big spender. US based companies Citcon , China Luxury Advisors (CLA) and The Momentum Group (TMG) are working to push US retailers’ acceptance of Chinese mobile payment solutions WeChat Pay and Alipay . These two platforms currently handle the majority of Chinese mobile payments and should support US retailers in handling transactions with Chinese visitors. By 2020, the number of Chinese visitors to the United States is expected to rise 121% to over 5 million people, with their spending rising sharply as well. In 2015, Chinese tourists spent over $27 billion in the US, making them the biggest spending international visitors.

Online wins in resale retail. In the US, eCommerce with second-hand apparel is growing at a compound annual rate of 35%, while brick-and-mortar resale stores are struggling. National second-hand chain 2nd Time Around has just announced the closing of all 33 US locations, leaving some of its vendors unpaid, while Rochester-based "Finders Keepers" is being transformed into an event venue. By 2020, the US resale market is expected to grow from about $18 billion to $33 billion by 2020, with online re-sellers like Vestiaire Collective , Thredup and The Real Real leading the pack.


From the feet up. A new kickstarter campaign for a selfie cellphone system called "SelfieFeet" is creating outrage. According to the fundraising page, SelfieFeet attaches to the users’ shoe top which allows them to snap the perfect picture with the help of a remote control. As outraged onlookers point out, the system could also easily be used to snap images up unsuspecting people’s pants, skirts or dresses…


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