Happy Wednesday and welcome back to The Spin! Chinese online giant Alibaba decided to double down on logistics, New York fashion institution Opening Ceremony has cut its staff, and Ulta Beauty continues its relentless rise leaving department stores and discounters behind. And then there is the new Balenciaga T-shirt shirt with two wearing options! Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Logistics liaison. Alibaba Group is leading a consortium of investors in buying a 10 percent stake in Chinese courier ZTO Express, whose stock hit a new high upon the news. Experts view the $1.38 billion deal as part of the Alibaba's push into offline services. The Hangzhou-based company already holds minority interests in Chinese couriers YTO Express and Best Inc.


It's a girl's world. After only 15 months, Spanish fast fashion retailer Inditex has shut down (in Spanish) the Stradivarius menswear line. It had been introduced with great fanfare to 20 markets in February 2017. Now, the company behind the successful Zara and Massimo Dutti chains plans to focus exclusively on the womenswear part of the label. Stradivarius was founded in 1995 and bought by Inditex in 1999.

Hey @balenciaga! Balenciaga's nonsensical $1290 T-shirt Shirt with two wearing options (!) has the social media scene in stitches - literally. Some users have already re-created DIY parodies of the T-shirt with frontal dress shirt application using safety pins or adhesive tape.


Outwitting Amazon. Cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty is one merchant that seems to be immune to Amazon's unstoppable ascent. With a sophisticated combination of on- and off-line stores and services, exclusives at competitive prices, and a strong loyalty program, the Illinois-based company increased its US beauty market share from 1 to 4.2 percent since 2008, heading towards a projected 6.6 percent share by 2022.

Lost that lipstick. Meanwhile, discounters and drug store chains have seen their market share in the beauty segment fall from 58 percent in 2003 to 49 percent in 2017. Even department stores saw a drop, from 11 percent to 9 percent, during that time frame. To lure back customers, some are now revamping their beauty departments.

Closing ceremony. Amidst search for a new investor, the innovative New York fashion retailer Opening Ceremony has laid off (paywall) 23 employees. All departments are affected, including the design team. For now, founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon plan to focus on the company's core business. While no new stores are planned this year, retail remains a part of the plan.


New order. Sean Hill, Managing Director for Expansion and Development at German luxury department store chain KaDeWe Group, is taking on (paywall; in German) the additional role of COO from departing CFO/COO Roland Armbruster. The CFO position goes to Michael Peterseim. CEO André Maeder's position remains unchanged. KaDeWe Group is co-owned by Thailand's Central Group and Austria's Signa Group and owns KaDeWe in Berlin, Oberpollinger in Munich and Alsterhaus in Hamburg.


Prada in the Prairie. Built 13 years ago, the installation of a Prada store in the barren Texan desert has become one of the art world’s greatest selfie destinations. Conceived by Berlin-based artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset and stocked with authentic Prada merchandise from Fall 2005, the "sculpture" has weathered vandalism and sticker attacks as well as a threat for removal due to “illegal outdoor advertising”. It is currently being taken care of by a local artist.


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