Happy Wednesday and welcome back to The Spin! HBC’s annual financials are scheduled to be released today and will likely confirm a loss at its German Kaufhof chain, stepping up wage discussions with the Verdi trade union. We also unveil which retailer has started to rent its stores through Airbnb, and why Brookfield’s offer for GGP has dragged down several mall operators. Enjoy the read and - as always - feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Judgement day. German trade union Verdi has rejected Galeria Kaufhof's plea to defer wage increases. On April 13, its tariff commission will decide (paywall; in German) whether to negotiate a collective wage agreement demanded by the HBC-owned company. Given its poor performance, Kaufhof has been pushing for reduced wages since October. Verdi examined the retailer’s economic situation and will most likely reveal the results soon. Although HBC just reported (press release) a $84 million net profit for Q4, the company will remain fiscally prudent.


Movin' on up. Californian fashion label Marine Layer utilizes the space above some of its retail stores as Airbnb rentals. Next week, it will start renting out a two-bedroom apartment above its New Orleans store. This follows the opening of two apartments in Portland (2014) and Chicago (2015). The Marine Layer lofts reflect the brand’s relaxed West Coast aesthetics. The owners plan to soon expand the project.


The long goodbye. After 15 years of service, Superdry Co-Founder and Director Julian Dunkerton is going to step down from the British fashion retailer on March 31. Dunkerton, who relinquished the CEO position in 2015, will donate £1.2m in shares to the Blue Marine Foundation, a charity supporting marine biodiversity. His role in the product and brand divisions will be taken over by the in-house teams. Following the announcement, shares of the Cheltenham-based company fell 6.6 percent.


From cash to Alipay... About 90 percent of Chinese tourists would use mobile payment platforms, as they are not interested in carrying large amounts of cash on overseas travels and dislike credit and bank cards. To capture the majority of that spending, Alipay is aggressively expanding overseas, planning to convince merchants in 20 European markets to accept Alipay transactions by March 2018. WeChat. This news comes just as Walmart announced to drop Alibaba’s Alipay in favor for Tencent’s WeChat in Western China. Walmart calls the move a business decision to improve customer experience. In the future, the retail giant might decide to cooperate with more than one partner.

Mall drag. Brookfield’s bid for GGP has proven to be bad news for retail REITs, sending down the shares of GGP and other mall operators including Taubman Centers and Macerich Company. According to Brookfield, GGP agreed to turn over the remaining 66 percent stake in the company for $23.50 per share. That offer was (paywall) below the $24 price tag many investors and analysts expected.


The good, the bad and the ugly. While US sports brand Nike is celebrating the extension of its uniform and apparel contract with the National Football League (NFL), and Le Coq Sportiv prepares for a third collaboration with Spanish sneaker retailer 24 Kilates, Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M just revealed that its sitting on $4.3 billion of unsold inventory.


Basic bitch. As fashion progresses from being driven by trends - including the normcore (video) and gorpcore movements - to being a simple celebration of self, basic apparel items are becoming increasingly popular. People increasingly wear whatever they like, whenever they feel like it, finally owning their personal basic bitch.


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