Happy Tuesday and welcome back to another edition of The Spin. Today we are examining Puma's excellent performance in 2017, hearing mixed forecasts about the future of retail and getting a sneak peek of Christopher Bailey's final collection for Burberry that celebrates diversity and giving back to a cause that is dear to his heart. Enjoy the read and as always, feel free to share it. Best, Christopher


Puma pounces forward. Puma released its Q4 numbers yesterday and they were quite impressive: the German athletic giant said that annual sales surpassed the €4 billion mark for the first time and were €4.136 billion. Shoe sales in particular accounted for growth in the quarter and net profit in 2017 more than doubled to €135.8 million from €62.4 million in 2016. The company expects slightly slower growth in 2018, however, and also announced it is replacing Adidas as the sponsor of the AC Milan soccer team.


And NYFW celebrates "Black Panther." In an interesting branding move that reflects the ever present symbiosis of Hollywood and fashion, labels Chromat, Cushnie et Ochs, LaQuan Smith, Ikiré Jones, Sophie Theallet and Tome showed items last night inspired by the forthcoming Marvel movie "Black Panther" at a New York Fashion Week charity event called "Welcome to Wakanda." The showcase also featured the work of Brother Vellies, Douriean Fletcher and Josh Bennett, who will formally launch their lines after the showcase. The African-inspired designs will all be auctioned off to raise money for Save The Children.


Good news, bad news. Newly released projections from the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the US predict that retail sales there will grow between 3.8 and 4.4 percent in 2018 – but mostly in the omnichannel and digital spaces versus standard physical stores. Meanwhile, other reports say that British retailers will have a rough 2018 with cost cuts and more job losses. According to one analysis, nearly one of every five fashion retailers there is showing early warning signs of insolvency.

Amazon gets out the axe. Speaking of retail job losses, Amazon has confirmed that it is laying off about 500 employees at its Seattle headquarters due to immense growth that left several areas over budget. The cuts will affect the consumer retail branches which are not growing as quickly as other Amazon units such as Alexa and digital entertainment. After adding thousands of employees in recent years, the move and rumored hiring freeze that is supposedly now in place are considered to be unusual.


Rainbow raincoats. Christopher Bailey is making a social statement with his final collection for Burberry that will be shown in London on Saturday. The see now/buy now assortment will include items with the LGTBQ+ rainbow as part of the brand's famous signature tan, black, white and red check pattern. Proceeds from the sale of the items will support three LGTBQ+ charities: Trevor Project, Albert Kennedy Trust and ILGA World and Bailey is formally dedicating the collection to LGTBQ+ youth.

Uniform uproar. A public elementary school in the posh Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo is being criticized for introducing a new school uniform designed by Giorgio Armani that will cost $730, more than double the price of the current uniform and another indication of the ballooning cost of education in Japan. Although chided by parents and several Japanese politicians, the school principal stands by his decision and says the designer duds reflect the school's upscale location.

Picture perfect. Fashion designer Michelle Smith and her brand Milly received a huge boost yesterday after the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Captured in paint by Amy Sherald, the former first lady wears a sleeveless white gown with striped accents and geometric designs created exclusively for her by Smith. The designer said she "flipped out" upon hearing the news.


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