Happy Friday and welcome back to The Spin! Today we look at a variety of new concepts designed to bring excitement back into physical stores - even if there’s no merchandise involved. We also tell you, which designers are currently rumored to possibly replace Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta, and what kind of political message Kim Jong-un's choice of attire might reveal. Enjoy the read - and your weekend! Best, Ulrike


The edge of retail. With the acquisition of two experimental retailers, Story and b8ta, US department store chain Macy's pursues a new, edgy direction in retail. Operating like a magazine, Story changes the theme of its entire assortment every few weeks, taking in a diverse offer of merchandise (mostly on consignment) as well as sponsors. Meanwhile, b8ta allows shoppers to try tech gadgets before buying them. The startup's platform will soon scale Macy's new popup concept, the Market@Macy's which was launched in ten Macy's stores last February.


The anti-shop. At its graffiti and circus-centric Life Coach pop-up space, Coach celebrates creativity, its heritage and its own name, all without a single product in sight. Instead, the brand invites visitors at its temporary Soho location to express, enjoy and discover themselves through graffiti, carnival games and tarot readings. June 12-17 at 107 Grand Street, NY.


The acrobat. Shopping malls are also getting in on the circus. In September 2019, Cirque du Soleil plans to open its first family entertainment center at a mall near Toronto. The 2,200 sqm space offers visitors acrobatic activities such as bungee jumping, aerial parkour and juggling. In the future, the entertainment company might expand the concept both nationally and internationally. Similar venues already exist at vacation clubs.

Hunting paradise. H&M just launched its new marketplace, Afound. Offering discounted fashion and lifestyle products from 100s of external brands as well as its own lines including COS, Weekday, Cheap Monday and &Other Stories, the concept operates both online and through physical stores. Currently only available in Sweden, the Afound concept is soon to expand internationally.


Giving up (some) control. Barcelona-based Puig has acquired a majority stake in Belgian fashion house Dries Van Noten, one of the last independent names in European fashion. Van Noten will retain a significant share in his namesake label. He also remains Chief Creative Officer and Chairman of the Board. Family-owned Puig owns luxury brands including Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci.


Rumor has it... Following the exit of chief designer Tomas Maier, the rumor mill is rife with ideas about who will take his place at Milan-based Bottega Veneta. Celine's famed former chief designer Phoebe Philo, one-time Brioni-candidate Craig Green and Alber Elbaz of Lanvin-fame are currently on top of the list of contenders. And then there is Bottega Veneta's own Design Director Walter Chiapponi, who previously worked at Gucci, Miu Miu, Valentino and Givenchy.

Sticking to his guns. A conservative shareholder has threatened to call out a boycott of US sports chain Dick's Sporting Goods for raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. Dick's CEO Ed Stack, who is (paywall) a gun-owner himself, raised the age shortly after a recent shooting at a Florida high school. The investor claims that Stack is willfully giving up money. According to Stack, the company stands by its decision, predicting that it will ultimately benefit the shareholders.


Power suit. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un tends to wear the same outfit, just as the late Steve Jobs did in his day. But while Jobs stuck with one look to avoid decision fatigue, Kim’s traditional Mao suit reflects his grandfather’s attire and might have lots of political implications, from emphasizing his role to legitimizing his rule.


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