Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Spin! Walmart has recently filed a myriad of patents which allow a glimpse at the retail giant's vision for the future. Over in Beijing, Tmall and Intersport collaborate to gain access to more consumer data. And then there is the rise of Jackson Wang's Fendiman. Enjoy the read and - as always - feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Walmart's vision. The US retail giant has recently filed for several patents that allow a glimpse into its future plans. While in-store drones and smart, possibly self-driving shopping carts are supposed to improve customer service, electronic inventory trackers and blockchain supported truck fleets will fine-tune logistics. Walmart employees might also get in on the tech action, with wearable tracking devices that monitor their activities.

Data mine. Alibaba’s Tmall and the buying association Intersport have just opened a fully digitized store in Beijing, where shop windows recognize visitors' gender and age to offer suitable products. On 1,300 sqm Tmall x Intersport features AI driven shopping assistants, smart shoe mirrors that offer styling support, and virtual "cloud" shelves with access to a vast warehouse. Customers can play AR games to win discounts, and use virtual shopping bags to digitally save desired products.


Nordstrom National. Nordstrom plans to open two additional Nordstrom Local locations in Los Angeles and also considers exporting the merchandise-less concept to more American cities including New York. The US luxury retailer launched the service-focused concept last October. On 3,000 sq.ft. the original location offers personal stylists, pickup-in-store for online orders, on-site tailoring, manicures and a beverage bar— but has no dedicated inventory.


Missing in action. Rodarte is not listed on the provisional calendar for Paris Couture Week, which is scheduled to run from July 1 to 5. The Los Angeles-based designer label was added to the Chamber Syndicale's list of guest-members last year, together with New York-based designer label Proenza Schouler, which has also pulled out of the event. So far, no details about the designers' plans for their upcoming collections have released.

Perfect simplicity. With sensibly designed and reasonably priced collections, Paris-based A.P.C. has secured a stable place in the fickle fashion industry. Founder Jean Touitou, who hates to be called "darling", finds his inspiration in real life - not on social media, where in his opinion "influencers influence mediocrity". Still, the brand remains on trend with chunky trainers, utilitarian tote bags and quilts.


Open sesame. Starting July 1, China will reduce import tariffs for apparel, footwear, headgear and fitness products from 15.9 percent to 7.1 percent. The move to open China's consumer market comes during a time of rising tensions between China and the US, which has prompted China to line up other countries, especially in Europe and Asia, against the US. Last December, China already cut import taxes on almost 200 consumer products including clothing from an average of 17.3 percent to an average of 7.7 percent.

Over the borderline. In 2018, China's cross-border eCommerce is set to reach $125 billion. In addition to large e-tailers like Tmall, four platforms have established themselves for the cross-border retail of luxury items. The Red app, a hybrid between social media and eCommerce, already counts about 60 million users. The flash-sale platform VIP International holds a 15.7 percent market share. Beyond allows reselling by overseas agents, brands and retailers; and Look offers products from 2,520 brands.


The Fendiman can. One day after rapper Jackson Wang debuted Fendiman at Fendi's FF Reloaded Experience event in Shanghai, the song climbed to number one in several US iTunes categories. Shot at Fendi’s headquarters in Rome at Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the song's music video features Wang and dancers in Fendi outfits including logo sweaters and shearling coats.


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