Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Spin! The musical chairs at luxury brands continue with Tomas Maier's exit from Bottega Veneta. We also investigate retailers' latest experiments with shared spaces and experimental shopping, and tell you what Virgil Abloh's 3 percent rule is all about. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


The departed. Following a 9 percent sales drop since 2016, the Kering-owned luxury label Bottega Veneta is parting ways with its chief designer, Tomas Maier. While sister labels Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent have been soaring, Kering got increasingly dissatisfied with Bottega Veneta’s performance. With its understated designs and signature woven leather bags, the sophisticated label, which just opened a massive NY flagship, did not sufficiently excite today’s young luxury consumers.


Free-form creative. Louis Vuitton's newly minted menswear designer Virgil Abloh shares his world view and design philosophy, including a 3 percent rule, why he was the first person allowed to remix the Nike sneaker, and how he intends to project the streetwear concept into the future. We also learn about his ability to always be present without ever truly being there, what he's just designed for Ikea, and how a linear display of his flights in 2017 would actually look like on a map.



Under siege. At its annual meeting (webcast), HBC’s management had to respond to shareholders challenging the group's executive pay package. The embattled retailer was also pressured to cash in on its real estate holdings while markets are still hot. One suggestion was to build residential condominiums on top of the stores. HBC holds department store chains including Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Galeria Kaufhof.

Role model. To enhance the shopping experience and keep customers around, US fabrics and crafts retailer Joann has developed a new store concept. The prototype in Columbus/Ohio features a Creator’s Studio for classes and events as well as cutting bars and a coffee shop. The location will also rent out equipment including sewing machines. Once fully established, the concept is supposed to expand to additional cities.

Zero goes to management. Following insolvency proceedings, Zero will be acquired (paywall; in German) by its interim managers, Urs-Stefan Kinting and Viktor Seuwen, who see great potential for the German fashion chain. Their offer came after an unnamed investor syndicate withdrew due to recent changes in the taxation of restructuring profits. The vertically structured chain currently operates 70 freestanding stores and 320 shop-in-shops.


Vertical move. Following a disappointing Q2 (in German), German fashion company Gerry Weber International will eliminate 140 to 150 full-time positions over the next two years, expecting (paywall; in German) to cut costs by €13 million to €15 million. In addition, the Halle-based company plans to move (press release) to greater vertical integration and focus its international activities on “large and profitable” growth markets.


Dangerous lay-aways. In the relentless quest for sales, some US online merchants now offer (paywall) try-before-buy, buy now/pay later and pay-in-installments options. In US fashion retail, the service is being pioneered by Urban Outfitters. Providers like Klarna and Afterpay have generated up to 30 percent higher conversion rates. Default charges can be significant, though, and consumer advocates have already issued warnings against Afterpay addiction.

Work it, baby! The installation of co-working spaces offers a fast solution to the problem of rising retail vacancies. In October, the Swedish co-working club No. 18 is going to debut in the US with a location at Atlanta’s open-air mall The Shops Buckhead, while Workbar has been cooperating with the office supply chain Staples since April 2016. There are lots of additional examples, but expert opinion continues to remain divided on their actual contribution to the remaining retail businesses.


is a product
delivered to you by | Imprint