TGIF! Today we are concluding the workweek with stories about the sudden and unexpected enemies-turned-friends situation between Kering and Alibaba, the latest big M&A in the fashion biz and fun video peek at the new documentary about fashion favorite Grace Jones. Enjoy the read, feel free to pass it on to friends and colleagues and have a very pleasant weekend. Cheers, Christopher


Kering and Alibaba ally. Luxury powerhouse Kering and Chinese e-tailer Alibaba are no longer at odds and announced in a statement yesterday that the former was dropping its two-year-old lawsuit against the latter accusing it of selling fakes and that they had forged a new partnership: a joint task force dedicated to fighting the sale of counterfeits on- and offline in China. It is the latest example of a luxury firm cooperating with a Chinese e-commerce company.


Aldo is acquiring Camuto. Aldo, the giant privately held footwear brand based in Canada, announced yesterday that it is acquiring the footwear and accessories divisions of U.S.-based Camuto Group for an undisclosed sum. This latest high-profile merger in fashion will expand Aldo's estimated $1.5 billion (paywall) in annual sales as the Camuto Group produces its own successful brand, Vince Camuto, along with licensed merchandise for labels such as the Jessica Simpson Collection and Tory Burch. The Camuto family will continue to own and operate the group's apparel arm.


Gap exiting Oz... Gap stores are done Down Under. Australian retailer OrotonGroup announced today that its is prematurely ending (paywall) its franchise agreement with Gap Inc and will be shuttering all six Australian branches of the casualwear stores in Sydney and Melbourne by January. The franchise agreement was cemented in November 2013 and was originally meant to last ten years with the option of renewing for another ten but severe underperformance by the chain forced Oroton to opt out early.

...but Australian retail rises. In other store news from Down Under overall retail sales there beat analysts expectations and rose in June for the third month in a row. The .03 percent increase is said to reflect improved consumer confidence in that country and included boosts in clothing, footwear and accessories.

Bettering Bangladesh. A group of companies headed by Belgian retailer C&A plans to digitally map factories in Bangladesh by next year to promote transparency for fashion companies and consumers. A recent conference in the capital of Dhaka also suggested that local companies there should consider launching their own fashion brands and try to sell them to the West.

High street low. British high street fashion retailers experienced the worst July in eight years according to a just released study by accounting company BDO. Despite a plethora of discounts being offered, fashion sales dropped 3.5 percent compared to July 2016. BDO blamed the decline on rising inflation and bad weather. However, sales of homeware in Britain actually rose 5.8 percent last month.

London's Arabian nights. The second annual London Arabia Art & Fashion Week, a showcase of artists and designers from The Middle East, will end its four-day run in the British capital today. Sponsored by the Arab British Business Association, this year's event highlighted the work of four fashion designers: Moroccans Albert Oiknine and Safae Ibrahimi, Hanan Heidari from Tunisia and Corrie Nielsen from the UK.


Jonesing for Jones. The first trailer for the forthcoming documentary about fashion model, singer and style icon Grace Jones has been released prior to the film's debut at the Toronto International Film Festival next month. The short clip (video) from "Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami" shows Jones applying her own makeup and – true to form – stating: "Sometimes you have to be a high flying bitch."


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