Today we highlight the abrupt end of the takeover talks between Canadian Hudson's Bay Company and US luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group, the planned IPO of Turkish jeanswear brand Mavi, and the Chinese apparel industry's quest to rise from imitation to innovation. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Have a great day, Ulrike


The end of the affair. Takeover talks between Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the highly leveraged US luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) have stalled (paywall). Hudson’s Bay owns, among others, US department store chains Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor as well as German Galeria Kaufhof. Earlier this year HBC had shown interest in Neiman Marcus which has been up for sale since March 2017.


Gymboree needs protection. US kidswear retailer Gymboree has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close 375 to 450 of its 1,281 stores. The company which has been acquired by Bain Capital in 2010 suffers from high interest expenses and fixed obligations. The company has $1 billion in debt with $872 million due by next year and has started looking for a new CFO. Until a replacement is found, the duties of former CFO Andrew North will be temporarily assumed by Liyuan Woo from AlixPartners.


Russia’s shoe market turns on its heel. Following several years of sales declines, the Russian market for footwear is going to grow (in German) 5% to 10% this year. According to the Russian Fashion Consulting Group, on average, Russians are currently buying only two pairs of shoes per year. As soon as incomes go up, the pent-up demand should increase consumption. A report by Deloitte states that 62% of Russians are already spending more on luxury items.


Mavi set for IPO. On June 15th, Turkish denim label Mavi plans to issue (in German) 27.31 million shares for 43 Turkish Lira (€10.87) each at the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Borsa Istanbul. This equates to 55% of the company at a valuation of €300 million, which would value the jeans wear maker at €541 million. Mavi, which means blue in Turkish, was founded in 1991 by the Akarliar family, which sold 50% of the company to investor Turkven in 2008.

Wolford needs buyer. The main shareholder group of Wolford AG, WMP Familien-Privatstiftung, Sesam Privatstiftung and its subsidiary M. Erthal & Co. Beteiligungsgesellschaft plan to sell their majority stake in the Austrian hosiery company. Wolford AG will join the selection process. The sale shall be combined (in German) with an equity financing to strengthen the company’s liquidity. In late April, Wolford lost (in German) its chief creative officer, Grit Seymour, who left to focus on her professorship at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin.


From Discounts to Diamonds. Jason Goldberger, former Chief Digital Officer at US discounter Target Corporation, has been named President & CEO at online jewelry retailer Blue Nile. Former CEO Harvey Kanter stays on as Chairman of the Board. Since last February, Blue Nile is owned by investors Bain Capital, Bow Street and Adama Partners. Goldberger’s resume includes stints at Amazon, Walmart and QVC.


Innovation, not imitation. As part of the "Made in China 2025" plan, Chinese designers are working hard to re-position themselves from mere imitators to innovators. As China's fashion industry took off around the same time as the Internet, most industry insiders have an "Internet mindset" and are building their businesses on the basis of their vast computer skills including innovative technologies like robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and launching new products directly in China, not the West.


No more tears. Nike now offers branded bandages for kids of overprotective Chinese parents. Named “Badge of Honor”, they unfold into comic-strips and stickers with stories about athletes who fell hard and had the courage to get back up. Created in cooperation with Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, the bandages are supposed to turn a prevailing stigma about sports injuries into pride for athletic ambition. In Belgium, Beiersdorf recently did a campaign with heart shaped stickers for woundcare company Hansaplast designed to turn kids' tears into smiles.


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