Happy Friday and welcome back to The Spin! HBC’s Galeria Kaufhof remains in the headlines, this time for having solved its leadership problem. The Canadian retail group's recent real estate sale has also sparked speculation about further deals of this magnitude. You might be surprised by the rise of organized crime in retail shrinkage and the role of blockchain in fighting counterfeiters. Enjoy the read and your weekend! Cheers, Ulrike


From Real to Kaufhof. Following a few delays, Roland Neuwald has been named (in German) chief of Galeria Kaufhof, the German department store chain owned by Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company. His appointment came one day after Austrian Signa Group offered €3 billion for Kaufhof's assets. Neuwald has previously been with German hypermarket operator Real. He takes over from Wolfgang Link, CEO of HBC Europe, who temporarily held (in German) the position after the departure of Olivier van den Bossche last April.


Risky business. Following HBC’s sale of its Lord & Taylor flagship store in New York City to WeWork, the company considers (paywall) selling its Vancouver Hudson’s Bay flagship. Experts now speculate which iconic building might be next. To some, Macy’s flagship on Herald Square would be a perfect location for a hotel or high-end apartments, as would the Bergdorf Goodman store. Additional locations of interest include the Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in New York as well as flagships in other US cities.

Sweat shop. In an innovative space-sharing cooperation, British department store chain Debenhams is going to test in-store fitness centers in some of its outlets, starting in 2018. Partner is the aspirational gym operator Sweat!, which is poised to bring a new, upmarket clientele to Debenhams, while Sweat! expects to benefit from Debenhams’ attractive locations and loyal clientele.


Going global. To focus on its international Triumph and Sloggi brands, Munich-based lingerie company Triumph is selling (in German) its hip (in German) lingerie, home and loungewear business BeeDees to Jansen Fashion Group. BeeDees was founded in 1979 and has been predominantly distributed in Germany. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Crime story. As a result of the raging opioid crisis in the US, organized theft has been on the rise and recently surpassed internal theft to become the leading cause of retail loss. According to the National Retail Federation, organized crime cost retailers about $30 billion in 2016. Operating across state lines, crime gangs increasingly sell their loot online. In September, 22 people in an alleged national ring were accused of stealing $20 million worth of goods from malls across the country in about a decade.

QR might not stop counterfeits... Although several tech companies are aggressively marketing new anti-counterfeiting technologies including atomic fingerprinting, covert ink and quick response (QR) codes, experts warn that these measures don’t address the fact that some can be compromised.

...but blockchain might. On the other hand, blockchain-based technologies like the VeChain app allow for the authentication of items from their place of origin to the home of each customer. The technology works with specifically assigned unique product IDs that are registered to VeChain’s blockchain. These NFC chips can, for example, tell the individual story of each garment and allow consumer interaction with it, making each piece one of a kind.


Down to one. Dutch premium denim brand G-Star has named (in Dutch) Rob Schilder sole CEO. Schilder had shared the brand’s leadership with co-CEO Patrick Kraaijeveld since November 2016 in a temporary model to refocus the brand’s strategy from wholesale towards retail. Kraaijeveld, who had been Chief Operations Officer before, will leave (in German) the Amsterdam-based company.


Endless wardrobe. US womenswear company Ann Taylor has launched a single-brand fashion subscription model, begging the question who would pay $95 per month to rent mall-style clothing from just one label. Via the Infinite Style program, customers can rent up to three Ann Taylor items at a time and swap them out as much as they like. The $95 fee includes shipping and dry cleaning.


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