Welcome back to The Spin! Today we tell you which Austrian retail group is working to add some street credibility, where Walmart got the inspiration for its new fashion lines, and how Boohoo increased conversion rates. And then there is the New York store that asks customers to come in and take a nap. Enjoy the read and - as always - feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


Growing faster. German online retailer Zalando continues to gain market shares across Europe. In 2017 the group revenue grew (in German) by 23,4 percent to € 4.489bn and a margin (EBIT) of 4,8% or €215.1m. For the first time not only the DACH region but also the rest of Europe has been profitable on a full year basis. For the next year Zalando is planning to grow even faster and wants to add a € 1bn to its sales in 2018 partly with the upcoming launch (in German; paywall) of its beauty segment.

Ring my bell. Amazon is going to buy the smart doorbell and home security systems specialst Ring for an estimated $1.2 billion. Experts view this acquisition as a sign that Amazon is stepping up its efforts to enable its delivery staff to enter customer's homes. In the past, Amazon had already invested in the Santa Monica-based company through its Alexa Fund.

Adding street-cred. Austrian Signa Sports Group has acquired (paywall; in German) Stylefile, a German online retailer that offers a broad assortment of sneakers and streetwear by top brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma. With about half a million active users in 30 countries, Stylefile should (in German) enhance Signa Sports' access to the growing athleisure market and the streetwear scene. Signa Sports is part of Signa Holding GmbH, which also holds the Karstadt and KaDeWe department store chains.


Fast reactor. To position itself as a fashion destination, Walmart has launched three new private-label fashion brands: the women's label Time and Tru, Terra & Sky for plus-size women, and Wonder Nation for kids. The retail giant also re-positioned George, which it acquired in 1999 with the purchase of British retailer Asda, as menswear only. To some observers, these low-price offerings look very similar to those of the pricier online retailers Bonobos and ModCloth, which Walmart acquired last year.


Tap to get it. British online retailer Boohoo is expanding its visual search tool. The technology (video) allows users to upload any image and search similar styles at Boohoo. It is currently being tested with about 70 percent of Boohoo's UK customers. According to first indications the tool might increase conversion rates. In March, it will be rolled out over the entire UK, followed by the US as well as the company's Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Things web retailers.

Start-up nation. To appeal to tech-savvy Millennials, the city of Paris is running a mobile Snapchat campaign during Paris Fashion Week, February 27 to March 6. The campaign will offer different types of filters, using A/B split testing and adjusting the daily budget based on Snapchat views and shares to see which ones are most effective. To reach the maximum number of people, the campaign will combine audience and geo filters.

Coming to life. Gucci brings its advertising campaign to life with augmented reality. Under #guccihallucination, the label's Milan flagship features a large screen with a moving animation of its campaign images, which were inspired by the Old Masters and created (video) by the Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal.


Coming home. Online sales in Canada grew 31 percent in 2017, twice the rate achieved by US retailers. Part of the reason is a growing number of Canadians, who stopped cross-border shopping as more home-grown merchants opened online stores. Between 2015 and 2016, for example, the rate of Canadians shopping at US online retailers decreased from 67 percent to 63 percent.


Naps in the city. US online mattress retailer Casper has just opened its first permanent brick-and-mortar store in New York's hip Noho neighborhood. In line with true experience retail, it allows customers to test the company's products by taking a nap in one of its six fully equipped miniature bedrooms. Casper also sends "Napmobile" trucks with sleeping pods around the country. Service for insomniacs includes pre-recorded bedtime stories.


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