Happy Thursday and welcome back to a new issue of The Spin! Today we tell you about the newest tactics Forever 21 employs to get Gucci's trademarks for its two-tone stripes cancelled. We also look at a lending start-up that tries to disrupt the traditional credit card business, and check out why a French mayor is fuming over H&M's departure from his little town. Enjoy the read and, as always, feel free to share. Best, Ulrike


New home. Italian retailer Vittorio Chalon has acquired (in Italian) the defunct eCommerce platforms The Corner and Shoescribe, which Yoox had discontinued after its merger with Net-a-porter in 2015. Through his Tony Srl, Chalon plans to relaunch (in German) both sites in late 2018 as platforms for its own company's eCommerce. While The Corner is set to handle full-price designer fashion, Shoescribe will offer shoes and accessories by niche labels.


Massive Attack. Forever 21 is all set to have Gucci's trademarks for its characteristic two-tone stripes cancelled. In an updated complaint, the fast fashion retailer presents more than 130 similarly striped design details by more than 40 brands including Louis Vuitton and Tory Burch as well as retailers like Nordstrom, J. Crew and Urban Outfitters. So far, none of these brands are involved in the lawsuit. According to Forever 21, the stripes are used too widely to warrant legal protection.


Stage win. Meanwhile, Gucci was the most-searched fashion label in 2017. When it comes to online shopping, the Alessandro Michele-designed label registered more than 35 million searches this year. In addition, fashion aficionados looked for items with elements typical for Gucci, including the aforementioned stripes as well as bold florals, clashing prints and snake graphics. A lot of those searches might have let customers to Forever 21, which propelled it to the 2nd spot on Lyst's list, followed by Balenciaga, Vetements, Free People, Saint Laurent, Nike, Topshop, Michael Kors and Givenchy.


Going solo. Patricia Barbizet, CEO of the Pinault family's Artémis investment arm, will relinquish the position to start her own business. Following her departure on January 31st, François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering and Chairman of Artémis, will (in Italian) take over her position. Barbizet, who has been with the Group since 1989, will remain Vice Chairman of the Board at Kering and Administrator at Artémis.


Staying alive. Designer brands like Marc Jacobs and Versace are part of the reason flash-sale sites have remained relevant in China. The country's third largest online retailer sells about 200 premium and luxury brands on its luxury platform VipLux. About half of those brands have joined the nine-year-old platform during the past two years. Marc Jacobs, for example, came on (in Italian) in October to offer his latest fall collection.


Credit card killer. The digital lending start-up Affirm intends to disrupt the traditional credit business, which Affirm's Co-Founder and former PayPal Chief Technology Officer Max Levchin calls fundamentally broken. Affirm was founded in 2012 and has since partnered with over 1,000 retailers for more than 1 million installment loans at rates between 10 and 30 percent. Retailers welcome its boost to customers' propensity to buy, while consumers seem to appreciate its predictable payments. But critics claim that Affirm promotes dangerous consumer behavior by enticing clients to buy things they cannot afford.

Tulip craze? Bitcoin just crashed from over $11,000 to about $9,000. This strong swing supports the skepticism of outspoken critics like JP Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz. While Dimon calls Bitcoin a fraud, Stiglitz warns that it does not serve any socially useful function and should be outlawed.


Public battle. The mayor of the French town of Boulogne-sur-Mer has publicly attacked (in French) H&M for planning to close a store in the small city's center. On public signs, Frédéric Cuvillier claims (in French) that "H&M cashes in, H&M leaves. Stop!" According to H&M, the lease for this location expires in December. After failing to come to a new agreement with the owner, H&M decided to close the store which currently counts ten employees.


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