Happy Tuesday and welcome back to The Spin! Today we check out the most noteworthy changes in the ranking of Interbrand's Best Global Brands 2017. We also take a look at the seemingly endless saga of Akris' fight for its trademark in China, and why Alibaba's Ant Financial remains bullish on blockchain. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


From 8 to 5. Amazon is the world's most valuable retail brand. This year, the online giant jumped (in German) from spot 8 to 5 on Interbrand's ranking (download) of the Best Global Brands following Apple, Google, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. The highest ranking apparel brand is Nike (18), followed by Louis Vuitton (19), H&M (23), Zara (24) and Hermès (25). Prada (94) and Dior (95) bring up the rear, while Ralph Lauren dropped off the list altogether.


Journey to the West. Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei is getting her first US museum show at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The Beijing-based couturier, who opened an atelier in Paris in 2016, is best known for the imperial cape US singer Rihanna wore at the 2015 Met Gala.

Five letters. In April, Swiss fashion company Akris has won the right to its "A-K-R-I-S-" trademark in China. It was an important victory in the decades-long battle against a succession of Hong Kong- and China-based companies. But another third party, Akris Shanghai Apparel Co, still has several "A-K-R-I-S-" trademarks pending before the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO). Although Akris AG filed its applications before most of Akris Shanghai's were submitted, there is no sure way to predict the outcome.


No CEO. British department store retailer Harvey Nichols has promoted Stacey Cartwright from Chief Executive Officer to Deputy Chairman, effective January 2018. Instead of refilling the CEO position, the company has named Group Commercial Director Daniela Rinaldi and Group Finance Director Manju Malhotra as Co-Chief Operating Officers to run day-to-day operations. Both will report to Cartwright and company owner Sir Dickson Poon.


Road to recovery. US teen retailer Rue21 has emerged from bankruptcy with an asset-backed loan facility and an exit term loan facility, which will both be converted to equity as part of the bankruptcy process. As part of the restructuring the Warrendale, Pennsylvania-based company has named a new fulfillment partner and closed 420 stores. It currently operates 758 branches.

Cleaning up. Tally Weijl has announced plans to close (in German) 21 stores in Switzerland, Germany, Poland, France and Italy. Nine new stores are scheduled to open in Germany Poland, Slovakia and Italy. As part of its retail optimization, the teen retailer is going to expand (in German) its eCommerce initiatives, also considering collaborations with platforms like Zalando. Currently, the Swiss company operates 906 stores worldwide.


Backing blockchain. Although the People's Bank of China has just banned blockchain-based initial coin offerings (ICOs), Ant Financial's Chief Strategy Officer Chen Long remains optimistic on blockchain (video) technology. In April, Ant Financial which is part of Chinese online giant Alibaba, vowed to escalate its application of the technology, starting with the Ant Love charity platform.


Cryptic storytelling. "What would you do for love?" In the role of a modern princess in the current Miss Dior commercial (video), actress Natalie Portman (behind the scenes video) pushes and shoves, purrs and screams, dive jumps in glamour gowns and races in a pink convertible, its tire marks spelling out the word love on the beach. And the audience loves her back: In less than a week her passionate performance clocked in close to 33 million Youtube views - and counting…


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