Welcome back to this week's first edition of The Spin after yesterday's break to mark Labor Day. Today we're spotlighting Amazon's new in-house fashion brand, duty-free retailing woes in Korea, the controversy over John Lewis' kidswear and exciting retail news in the United Kingdom. Enjoy the read and feel free to forward it to friends and/or colleagues. Thanks and best, Christopher


Amazon's own-brand arrives. Amazon has unleashed its latest tool to become the world's most powerful retailer by officially launching its first own-brand fast fashion apparel collection called Find on its U.K. site this past weekend. The label offers 500 womenswear items and 200 for men. A marketing campaign promoting the line will debut on Facebook, Instagram and billboards across Europe this week. Amazon soft launched Find in May.



Duty-free dropout? Due to souring political relations between South Korea and China over the former's deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system, Chinese tourism has plummeted in South Korea since Chinese imposed a group travel ban there in March. Now South Korea's largest duty-free company, Lotte Duty Free, and two other duty-free operators are threatening to close their shops in Incheon International Airport near Seoul unless the airport reduces its rent in response to the drastic downturn they have suffered as a result. In addition to its standard duty-free concessions in the airport, Lotte runs the shops of 13 luxury brands at Incheon including Louis Vuitton, Prada and YSL.

Genderless at John Lewis... There has been a mixed reaction to the revelation that British retailer John Lewis is no longer labeling its in-house children's clothes by gender and that the items now say either "Girls & Boys" or "Boys & Girls." While the store implemented the change some 18 months ago it was recently noticed and written about by the press, sparking both praise and criticism from the public. Some are heralding the store for being inclusive while others are threatening to boycott it for being too "politically correct."

...and unisex scents. Recent sales figures and anecdotal evidence shows that sales of high-end perfumes are on the rise, especially scents that are designed to be unisex or intended to be worn by the opposite gender. The trend, which probably began with CK One in the 1990s, has also caused more niche unisex perfume brands to become more mainstream.


Majority in Matches. The news broke on Friday (after the most recent edition of The Spin was published) that private equity firm Apax Partners is acquiring a majority stake (paywall) in British luxury fashion retailer for an undisclosed sum thereby winning a bidding war (paywall) for the company. Company founders Tom and Ruth Chapman will stay on board as minority shareholders in advisory roles. Some sources say the Chapmans will probably earn £400 million in the sale of the company which is valued at £800 million.

More M&Co's. M&Co, the Scottish value-fashion retail chain that is owned by Mackays Stores Group Ltd, has announced plans to open 60 to 75 new stores across the U.K. in the next five years. The expansion comes in the wake of the store's recent outstanding financial results. Between February 2016 and February 2017, M&Co's profits increased 37 percent to £6 million and it had total sales of more than £165.6 million.


Pantaloons CEO exits. Shital Mehta, CEO of the Pantaloons division of the giant India-based retailer Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, has resigned from the company. He previously worked as COO of international brands and retail at Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, another arm of Aditya Birla, Just last week Pantaloons made the India Book of Records by creating the tallest denim idol of the Hindu deity Ganpati out of 600 pairs of jeans.

Gee goes tech. British retail veteran Rowland Gee, who served as CEO of Moss Bros from 1989 to 2002, and who is chairman and executive chairman of Grey4Gold , a retail mentoring service for retirees who want to return to work, has joined the board as an advisor at Tech Lab, a tech company that is a wholesale fashion platform for buyers and wholesalers.


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