Welcome back to a new issue of The Spin. Today we will again focus on retail, because chain stores are very active on various continents. In England, Sainsbury's and Asda are trying to create a supermarket giant. In Germany, NKD's owner is seeking a buyer. Italy's Sergio Rossi is testing a new strategy in China with a local partner and America's Taubman Centers has announced a surge in sales. Business everywhere seems rosy. Enjoy the read and have a fabulous week. Caroline.


Game changer. Britain's retail giants Sainsbury's and Asda are in advanced negotiations for a £15 billion deal to consolidate their businesses. If they succeed, they will create a new supermarket giant with a 31.4% share of the UK grocery market, that will outrank Tesco (27.6%). Asda, the British arm of America's Walmart, allied to Sainsbury's would be a powerful group not just in food but also in clothing and household goods.

Mall resistance. The reports of American malls' death are grossly exaggerated. Robert Taubman, chairman of Taubman Centers (paywall) said that tenant sales per square foot rose 12.4% in the first quarter. There (paywall) are still worries about on-going store closures, but A list malls seem to be resisting much better. Taubman centers, relying on luxury and unisex apparel rebound saw sales of apparel grow 10% while women shoes were up 20% during the last quarter.

Buyer wanted. German discount retailer NKD has been put up for sale. According to sources close to its owner, the private investment company Opcapita wants to benefit from its high equity valuation and asked Goldman Sachs to find a buyer. NKD runs 1800 stores in small cities all over Germany and Austria. It could attract an offer of more than €300 million. NKD's main competitor is Takko, part of Apax Partners. Takko is also looking (in German; paywall) for potential buyers.


Vera Wang beware. Spanish bridal brand Pronovias has a new CEO, Amandine Ohayon who took the reins of the company 2 months ago. The L'Oreal alumni is readying the ship to conquer America. She recently hired Amanda McCormick Bacal, a Ralph Lauren veteran, as the president of North America. She is talking digital transformation and opening of new stores in the United States. Why such a fuss? The growing American market. Transparency market Research says it will be worth $11.2 billion by 2022.

Second chance. Ailing Sergio Rossi gets a second chance in China. After closing its 10 franchise stores in China last year, the Italian shoemaker is partnering with Hong Kong entrepreneur Adrian Cheng to reenter the market. Sergio Rossi is not well known there. According to RBC Capital markets, consumers are more interested in full product brands such as Louis Vuitton or Gucci. Nevertheless, Adrian Cheng already manages local operations for Moschino and Red Valentino. The Chinese billionaire will do the same for Sergio Rossi.


Prime hike. Amazon Prime price is going up 20% to reach $119 on May 11. The successful premium subscription program reaches now 100 million people, expecting free delivery. They could be reluctant to add $20 to their membership. That's why Amazon reminds them of the goodies associated with Prime: exclusive fashion brands only offered to them and the Amazon Prime wardrobe that lets the customer try on items before purchasing them. Not convinced? Find the loopholes: students benefit from a half price discount.


Hats off. The show must go on. Friends of the late designer Azzedine Alaia recently (paywall) celebrated the opening of the first Maison Alaia on New Bond street, in London. The 3 floor 6000 square feet space is the only store outside of the creator's digs in Paris. Naomi Campbell, who used to call him Papa, was co-hosting the event. That's not all, next month, the Design museum will show a retrospective of his work in London.


RIP. Pietro Marzotto, former chairman of the Marzotto textile group, died (paywall) of heart failure at the age of 80 years. He will be buried this week in Valdagno, where the family company is based. Pietro, son of count Gaetano, transformed the textile manufacturer into a luxury conglomerate, which at its peak owned Hugo Boss and Valentino. The entrepreneur exited the company in 2004 after clashing with other members of the family.


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