Happy Friday and welcome to a new edition of The Spin. Today, Ulrike Howe highlights the massive restructuring at HBC's North American division, retail's new quest for privacy and the strong sales forecast for global athletic wear. Enjoy the read and feel free to share!


HBC cuts 2,000 jobs. Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) plans to eliminate about 2,000 jobs in North America, flattening the management levels at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Gilt. Once fully implemented by 2018, the layoffs are supposed to save $350 million per year. The announcement came with HBC’s Q1 earnings release, which showed a 3% sales decrease to $3.2 billion and a net loss of 221 million.

The mood was better in Germany where stars, journalists and suppliers came to the pre-opening of Europe’s first Saks Off 5th flagship in Düsseldorf. Initial reactions have been positive (in German), with the store design praised as simple but cool. Saks Off 5th is being run by HBC Europe’s headquarter in Cologne.

Nordstrom looks for privacy. One day after Macy’s lukewarm forecast sent US retail stocks into a tailspin, the news of a possible privatization of upscale retailer Nordstrom turned the market around yet again, with Nordstrom's own stock briefly up 20%. Going private would allow the Seattle-based retailer to reshape its business away from the scrutiny of media and Wall Street analysts. The announcement followed a weaker-than-expected Q1 earnings report.

So does New World Department Store. The Chinese retailer's parent company, New World Development Co Ltd, plans to take New World Department Store private. In China, New World Department Store operates 40 department stores and two shopping malls which have been hit with slowing foot traffic and increasing competition from larger malls. As a private unit, the company would be more flexible and could take bigger risks in developing new strategies.


Flat hierarchy. As part of the restructuring at HBC, Alison Coville has been named (press release) President of Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay. Liz Rodbell, who served as President of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor for the past five years, will continue as President of Lord & Taylor. Chief Technology Officer Janet Schalk will take on the lead of the newly created HBC Technology group, integrating store technology with online platforms, and Chief Corporate Development Officer Ian Putnam has taken on the added responsibility of COO for HBC’s Joint Ventures.


Stylish youth. In his ongoing support (in German) of emerging designers, Giorgio Armani will host (in Italian) the presentation of Korean menswear designer Munsoo Kwon’s latest collection at Armani/Teatro during Milano Moda Uomo in June. In September, he follows up with a design student contest at London Fashion Week which offers winners in the categories outerwear, handbags and shoes the sale of their products at Armani stores in London, Manchester and Glasgow as well as online .

Mercedes-Benz backs out. Mercedes-Benz is not going to renew (in German) its contract with show organizer IMG for Berlin Fashion Week. The last Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin event will run form July 4th-7th. The cooperation between the companies in Sydney and Istanbul is not affected. In 2015 Mercedes-Benz ended its sponsorship of New York Fashion Week and was quietly replaced as Official Automotive Partner by Japanese car maker Lexus.


Fashionable deliveries. Logistics giant DHL plans to develop (in German) comprehensive logistics initiatives with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI). DHL’s partnership with the CFDA includes a study by Accenture on how fashion designers could more efficiently use global supply chains to better target customer needs.

Speedy sneakers. The 2021 sales forecast for global athletic wear has just been raised to $355 billion. To keep up with demand, top sports brands like Nike and Adidas are increasing their production cycles and invest in new technologies like 3D prototyping, robotics and 3D printing. In addition to shorter lead times and a more focused market response, the streamlining of processes should also lower the cost by an estimated 10%.


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