Happy Tuesday and welcome back to The Spin! Today we examine the latest positions of economic leaders, retailers and brands in the ongoing discussions about Washington’s planned import tariffs. We also tell you, which gender might save brick-and-mortar stores, which retailer is installing VR stations, and which actress might bring pantsuits back into American politics. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Two tribes. Ahead of the current G20 summit in Argentina, German officials warned (paywall) the US about the dangers of protectionist policies. The EU just published a 10-page list of US-made products considered for punitive tariffs in case the US goes ahead with its plans. The estimated retail value is $3.46 billion but could be extended to $7.9 billion. It includes cotton pants, shirts and bedding, leather shoes and shirts made of synthetic fibers.


Pushing back. Twenty-five large US brands and retailers including Walmart, VF Corporation and Levi Strauss have sent a letter to the White House, urging President Trump to reconsider punitive tariffs. US trade associations like the National Retail Federation are also pushing back. Washington considers imposing $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods including apparel, shoes and toys.

Men to the rescue. Contrary to women, men still prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, where they can touch, feel and try on a product before they buy it. Since they are also more likely to pay full-price at a physical store rather than comb through the Internet for cheaper alternatives, men might actually become saviors of traditional retail.


Supreme moves. After 11 years at the helm of Dior Homme, Kris Van Assche is leaving the French luxury label. He will be replaced by former Louis Vuitton Men's Artistic Director Kim Jones, who rose to fame with the orchestration of LV's successful collaboration with the New York-based skateboarding label Supreme last year. Jones will show his first Dior Homme collection in June.

Off the bench. Bruno Sälzer, who moved from Escada to Bench in December 2014, will relinquish (paywall; in German) the CEO position but retain his 15 percent stake in the British Streetwear label. His duties will be assumed by the remaining top managers, CFO and COO Gregory Peacock; CWO Nils Hünting; and CRO Alonso Alonso González, who also took over the responsibilities of CPO Sebastian Streck after he left the company.


Claire's Chapter 11. As expected, accessories retailer Claire's files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The teen retailer is closing 92 stores - most of them are located in malls.


Stunted reality. Many retailers experiment with Augmented Reality. As soon as the novelty factor subsides, though, many applications hold little value for retailers and customers alike. In addition to the fun (video) factor, retailers should make sure that their AR initiatives help raise awareness, introduce new product, sell add ons and/or allow sharing of the experience on social media. Otherwise, AR applications are just short-lived publicity stunts.

Catching up. Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette is on a mission to improve customer experience at its physical stores. In addition to app-based mobile checkouts and new private labels, he bets on Virtual Reality. By this summer, 60 stores will feature VR technology in their furniture departments, allowing customers to virtually recreate, furnish and enter their rooms, allowing stores to showcase more items on less space.


Sexy governess. American actress Cynthia Nixon, who rose to fame as Miranda Hobbes in the hugely successful TV series "Sex and the City", is going to run for Governor of New York. The openly bisexual activist is taking on Andrew Cuomo, who held the position since 2011, possibly re-introducing the pantsuit to American politics.


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