Happy Friday and welcome back to the Spin! Today the story is all about retail. To accelerate growth, luxury companies as well as not so luxurious brands are betting on their own stores. That's what put Levi Strauss back on track, and that's how Akris and Bottega Veneta keep close relationships with their customers. Some strong big data knowledge may also come in handy, suggests Alibaba's strategy. Enjoy the read! Cheers, Caroline


Just for me. The global apparel and footwear market rose (paywall) 4 percent to $1.7 trillion in 2017, according to Euromonitor International. The growth was especially strong in sportswear (+6,8%) and children's wear (+6,2%), but experts are not that impressed by fast fashion. Millennials tend to reject homogeneous styles as they prefer customization. A trend symbolized by Adidas and its personalized sweaters.



Scarf indulgence. Hermès' revenue rose to €5.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 9 percent in constant currencies. CEO Axel Dumas admitted to a 4th quarter slowdown in sales growth, but he remains upbeat for 2018. Younger shoppers are showing a growing appetite for handbags and scarves and there is a pick up in demand in Asia. Hermès will launch a new website in Europe and China this year to indulge its new customers. Its website is easier to navigate on mobile devices.


Do it yourself. Levi Strauss is back. CEO Chip Bergh just announced a full year's revenue growth of 8% to $4.9 billion. It is the strongest year the company has had in more than a decade. Sales in Europe in 2017 were up 19% to $1.3 billion, Asia grew 5% to $818 million and sales in the Americas increased 3% to $2.8 billion. The growth was fueled by the company's retail expansion with bricks-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce.



Italian opening. Bottega Veneta has opened (paywall) its largest store worldwide on Madison Avenue in New York City. The flagship store is located of three combined 19th century townhouses. The commercial space is close to 15,000 square feet on five floors, enough to showcase the entire world of Bottega Veneta including home, dinnerware, furniture and jewelry. To give his customers a unique experience, Creative Director Tomas Maier offers customization of individual products with embossing, stamping and even stitching techniques.



Big support. Thanks to Tmall, four Asian brands, Peacebird, Clot, Chen Peng and Li Ning, showed their collections during China Day at New York's Fashion Week. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) signed (paywall) a 5 year partnership with Suntchi and Tmall, part of Alibaba, to organize an exchange of designers between America and China. Opening Ceremony, Robert Geller and Grey of Jason Wu already had their day in Shanghai last October.

Big data. China's e-commerce giant, Alibaba is investing $486 million to buy a 38% stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology, a domestic database outfit focused on hotels and retail. Shiji gathers information on hotels, luxury and specialty stores in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Austria and Germany. Through a partnership with Shiji, Alibaba intends to increase its grasp on China's retail market.


Luxury transfer. Jonathan Sinclair, CFO of luxury shoe label Jimmy Choo, will cross the Atlantic to become the new financial head of Canada Goose. The 56-year-old executive moves to Canada at a successful time for the company. Revenue for the third fiscal quarter rose 21 percent and net income doubled to C$62.9 million. That did not satisfy investors, though. On February 8th, the very day of the announcement, Canada Goose's stock plummeted 16 percent.

Luxury return. Melissa Beste returns (paywall) to Akris as CEO of the Swiss luxury women's wear company. She used to head the Americas region from 2009 to 2014 before joining Interluxe Holdings. Beste is the first non-family member to assume the role of CEO but she will work closely with Peter Kriemler who remains President of the group and Albert Kriemler, the Creative Director of the brand. Her roadmap includes the relaunch of the eCommerce site and the expansion of the store network.


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