Happy Tuesday and welcome back to The Spin! This week, the musical chairs at top fashion and retail companies continues. We also check out how apparel exports are developing in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. And then there is the mysterious case of an Amazon customer receiving an unexpected box from Walmart. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Saved by the bell. According to a registration in Germany's commercial register, department store chain Karstadt has bought (paywall; in German) curated-shopping specialist Kisura (paywall). The Berlin-based start-up declared bankruptcy in February. The purchase might be a smart move for Karstadt, given the fact that rival curated shopping merchant Outfittery just reached (paywall; in German) profitability. During the past two years, Austrian Karstadt-owner Signa has bought eight online retailers, including streetwear retailer Stylefile (in German).

Arbitrage activity. The price war between Amazon and Walmart has resulted in a new culture where savvy sub-merchants buy highly discounted items at one retail giant to sell it for a much higher price at the other. Fueled by brick-and-mortar retailers' need to move merchandise quickly, the market is extremely dynamic, sometimes even resulting in unexpected Walmart packages arriving at the door of loyal Amazon customers.

Off the aisle. Gap Inc is exiting its Weddington Way bridal business, closing (press release) its shop-in-shops at Banana Republic and planning to shut down all 13 test stores in the US within the next three months. The online shop will remain open until at least June 11. J. Crew also unsuccessfully dabbled in the highly competitive sector, discontinuing its bridal collection in 2016, while David's Bridal was downgraded (paywall) by Moody's in February.


From Tiffany to Louis Vuitton... Following the recruitment of streetwear czar Virgil Abloh as head of menswear, French luxury brand Louis Vuitton has appointed (paywall) Francesca Amfitheatrof Artistic Director of its watches and jewelry division. Amfitheatrof made her name (paywall) at Tiffany, where she became the first woman to head the jewelry design team. She left that position in January, when Reed Krakow became (paywall) Chief Artistic Officer, giving him design control over all categories.

...and from BJ's to HBC. Bari Harlam has been named Chief Marketing Officer at Canadian Hudson's Bay Company. Harlem has most recently been adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and previously worked for the member’s only shopping destination, BJ's Wholesale Club, and the drugstore chain CVS, where she developed a strong expertise in data-driven customer insights, digital marketing, social media and e-commerce. At HBC she takes over from Milton Pappas, who left the company.


Dreamy odyssey. Balmain's creative head Olivier Rousteing likes to celebrate the openings of his stores with innovative tech collaborations. At this week's opening of the Balmain store in Milan, he surprised customers with a first-of-its-kind Virtual Reality experience. In collaboration with Oculus, Rousteing has created a new VR headset and "dream odyssey" experience, allowing access to his inspirations, sketches, and ultimately his brain. In a few weeks, the project might go on the road. Luxury labels like Prada and Gaultier have also experimented with VR in the past.


Facing headwinds. Due to a lack of free trade agreements, India's apparel exports dropped by 17.8 percent to $1.49 billion in March, marking the tenth month of decline. By contrast, Bangladesh and Vietnam saw consistent growth. The shrinkage prompted the Indian Apparel Export Promotion Council AEPC to ask the government to address the issue. Currently, the sector employs 12.9 million workers in India, with several clusters already being impacted.


Love story. To loud cheers, a well dressed groom-to-be proposed to his model girlfriend right on the runway at the end of the Watters Bridal fashion show in New York last Saturday. "I wanted this moment to be as special as you are to me," Chad Stapleton told Nicole Kaspar, as he got down (video) on one knee, moving her to tears - and getting the brand a lot of unexpected additional PR.


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