Today we take glimpse at the broader ambitions fueling the recent acquisitions by Michael Kors and Coach, report the latest reorganization measures at Neiman Marcus, and investigate the unexpected exit of HBC's Galeria Kaufhof from Berlin's Gropius Passagen. Enjoy the read and feel free to share. Best, Ulrike


Building power houses. With their recent acquisitions, US fashion companies Michael Kors (Jimmy Choo) and Coach (Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade) are not just trying to expand their businesses, they are in a race to build international luxury groups much like Kering or LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.


Thanks, but NO THANKS. In a scathing letter obtained by the Washington Post, Birkenstock Americas CEO David Kahan tells his retail clients to stay away from Amazon. Last year, the German company ended its cooperation with the online giant. Now Kahan warns that he would blacklist and close any authorized sellers who sell Birkenstock products on Amazon FOREVER.

The emperor's new shoes. In the meantime, Amazon has launched its own private-label accessories line. The Fix offers affordably priced handbags and shoes, including satin slippers for $69 and bucket crossbody bags for $119.


Cutting cover. Credit insurer Euler Hermes has reduced its cover for suppliers to German department store chain Galeria Kaufhof which is part of Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company. While Euler Hermes refused to comment on the matter suppliers told TextilWirtschaft the insurer would now cover only 20 to 25 per cent (in German) of shipment volume.

Giving notice. As part of its restructuring, Neiman Marcus is going to lay-off 225 employees and reassess its Last Call off-price concept. Currently the Dallas-based luxury retailer operates 42 full-line and 37 off-price stores as well as two Bergdorf Goodman branches, online retailer Horchow and Mytheresa.com.

Warning signs. Due to higher business rates, the introduction of the national living wage and continued Brexit negotiations, about 18% of clothing retailers with a presence in Britain are currently at risk (paywall) of becoming insolvent. That equals more than 5,500 companies. US teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters just pulled the plug, adding to the increasing (paywall) vacancy rate.


Connecting everyone. This year, about one-third of the world’s population will access a social media site at least once a month. That’s about 2.46 billion people or 71% of all Internet users, making social networks an important element in innovative sales strategies, especially when targeting younger shoppers.


Added responsibilities. Michelle Israel, Senior Vice President at Bloomingdale’s off-price division The Outlets, has been promoted to Senior Vice President Off Price. In this expanded role, she is taking additional responsibility for Macy’s off-price unit, Macy’s Backstage. She will report to Tim Baxter, Chief Merchandising Officer at Macy’s, and to Francine Klein, Vice Chair Outlets at Bloomingdale’s.


Diller vs. Durst. A legal battle between media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg, with real estate billionaire Douglas Durst is holding up Diller’s plan to convert New York’s crumbling Pier 54 at West 13th Street into an entertainment and shopping park dubbed "Diller’s Island".

Starring: Siri. Apple's action movie inspired Siri commercial has already gone viral. With Siri’s help, actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson manages to smoothly sail through a hectic day as as Lyft driver, painter, fashion designer and astronaut. Within the first 48 hours, the video has already been seen more than 7.5 million times.


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