Welcome back to The Spin! The revolving doors continue to rotate: While a US luxury retailer plans to replace its CEO with an outsider, two fashion labels have just named new design chiefs. On the tech front, Amazon is making headlines with its new patent for a magic mirror that blends user portraits with virtual images of outfits and environments. Enjoy the read - and your weekend! Cheers, Ulrike


From RL to NM. US luxury retailer Neiman Marcus is replacing (paywall) its longtime CEO Karen Katz with a yet-to-be-named outsider who reportedly comes from Ralph Lauren. Over the past few years, the debt-laden company had contemplated, then abandoned an IPO and held takeover talks with potential suitors including Canadian Hudson's Bay Company, whose US holdings include Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Katz has been with the Dallas-based luxury retailer since 1985.

Back to the future. Former DVF designer Nathan Jenden returns to the New York-based fashion label as Chief Design Officer and Vice President of Creative. He takes over from Jonathan Saunders, who abruptly resigned in December. Jenden already worked for DVF from 2001 to 2010, when he left to start his own label. Since June, he also held (press release) the position of Creative Director at GBG's Bebe divisioin. His first DVF collection will be for fall 2018.

Winning teen. Twenty-year-old designer Vejas Kruszewski (in French), who won the LVMH Special Prize in 2016, has been named (paywall) Creative Director at the newly created leather brand Pihakapi. Launched in 2017 by Italian leather company Pellemoda, the label's first unisex collection will debut this month in Paris.


Upwardly mobile. With estimated sales of about $200 billion, Amazon was responsible for about 44 percent of all eCommerce and 4 percent of total retail revenues in the US last year. The online giant's fastest growing product groups include luxury beauty, sports and outdoor, while consumer electronics remained the best selling category, contributing more than $8 billion.

Down to a quarter. On top of 63 planned store closures this January, US discounter Sears Holdings has just announced the shut-down of 103 additional Kmart and Sears locations. This will leave the Chicago-based company with about 940 outlets, down to about a quarter from its heyday of more than 3,500 stores in 2012.

Fast disruptors... Seven trends will most likely reshape retail in 2018. Some of them rather unexpected, like a new interest in brick-and-mortar stores, others less surprising, like a growing number of acquisitions involving names like Nordstrom, Kohl's, J. Crew and Abercrombie. On the product front, increased recycling of apparel and retailers' cultivation of high-margin private labels will put more pressure on large brands.


...and slow innovators. Technologies like digital mirrors, voice assisted shopping, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain will find (paywall) broader applications, as will the personalization of products, services and environments. But most of the cutting edge technologies will take more than 12 months to find their way into the mainstream.

Dream outfit. That doesn't stop Amazon from forging ahead. The online giant has patented a magic mirror technology that allows users to create “blended” images of themselves wearing virtual outfits in virtual sceneries. Magic Mirror combines actual photos taken by Amazon's Echo Look with virtual images of outfits chosen by the user. The virtual scene is created (patent) by combining images reflected by a mirror with images transmitted from a screen behind the mirror.


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