Good Monday and welcome back to a new issue of The Spin. Today we tell you about a successful IPO in London, the launch of a new apparel line by the supermarket Kroger and the big hopes generated by the holiday season shopping spree in America and China. You might also be surprised by the Turkish workers' initiative to get paid. They left messages in the pockets of Zara garments to alert customers. Enjoy the news and have a great week, Caroline.


London calling. Shares of British retailer Footasylum rose by more than 23 percent on its first day of trading last week on London's junior market, AIM. The chain sells athletic shoes and apparel from Adidas, Nike, The North Face and 300 other brands. Footasylum raised more than £65 million from its IPO. Investors trust (paywall) David Makin and John Wardle, the founders of the now 60-store company who are the well known creators of JD Sports (1,200 stores). Next step: doubling the number of Footasylum in England.


The French reduction. Vivarte, the French debt-laden retailer, is selling Spanish shoes retailer Merkal Calzados to private investment firm Op Capita based in London. Vivarte is in the midst of a restructuring plan for a debt of €1.3 billion. The company was hard hit (paywall) by fast fashion competition (H&M, Kiabi, Primark). It has already sold Kookai and Pataugas. Other brands Andre, Chevignon and Naf Naf are still on the block. Vivarte owners want to concentrate their efforts on La Halle, Minelli and Caroll.


Watch out, Lidl. Kroger, the largest US supermarket chain, is launching a proprietary brand for children and their parents. The new brand, still unnamed, will hit 300 Fred Meyer and Kroger Market Place in fall 2018. It will be "amusing, simple and uplifting" promises Robert Clark, senior vice-president of merchandising. Kroger is trying its hand at apparel to fight competition from Amazon and other supermarkets. German Lidl brought an exclusive Heidi Klum line to America.

Breaking the ice. Giant American VF Corp is buying Icebreaker Holding, a New Zealand outdoor apparel company, for an undisclosed sum. Steve Rendle, chairman of VF Corp, was attracted to Icebreaker's merino wool. The company, which earns $150 million in annual revenue, will complement VF Corp's SmartWool brand and make it a leader in the growing natural fiber category. With VF Corp support, the brand will enter new markets in America, Asia and Eastern Europe.


Wealthy and single. Forget about Black Friday. The American shopping extravaganza is eclipsed by Singles' Day, a Chinese custom that takes place every November 11. On that day, unattached people celebrate the fact that they are still single by buying online clothes and home products for themselves. Last year Alibaba made $17.8 billion in sales. This year singles could spend more in virtual stores, including, Alibaba's key competitor.

Wealthy and careful. American consumers are finally loosening their purse strings for the holiday season. According to Customer Growth Partners, they will spend a record $663 billion, 4.3% more than last year. Online retailers and home retailers are the expected winners of the season: both being up 9%. Nevertheless, shoppers are still buying carefully. The Astound commerce reports underlines (paywall) that 78% of surveyed customers are motivated by price, and for 71% free shipping will close the deal.

Wealthy and British. The founder of Parisian Officine Générale's rode the TGV to London. Pierre Maheo is opening his first store outside of France in London's Soho area, adjacent to Paul Smith and Rag&Bone. The luxury menswear specialty store retains the olive green façade and solid wooden floors of its predecessor. Pierre Maheo isn't worried about Brexit. When he decided to expand abroad, he noticed that English visitors were among the most loyal customers of the e-commerce site.


Message in a pocket. Shoppers in Istanbul found strange messages in their garments' pockets bought at Zara:"I made this item you are going to buy but I didn't get paid for it." The notes were written by Turkish workers employed by third-party manufacturer Bravo Tekstil, which had gone out of business overnight. Bravo owes the workers three months of pay. Zara says it is working with Mango and Next, two other customers of Bravo, to create a fund for them.


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