Welcome back to The Spin! Today’s issue starts with speculation about the next moves of Austria's Signa Group, which seems to be in expansion mode. We also check out a US shopping mall that is defying all negative trends, and how the Channel Island of Jersey is trying to change its image from tax shelter to glam zone. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


So happy together! Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company is said to be in talks with Austrian Signa Group for a Galeria Kaufhof joint-venture. Signa’s department store division Karstadt would acquire half of Kaufhof’s property and 51 percent of its operating business, with the option to buy the remaining stakes later. Earlier this year, HBC rejected Signa’s €3 billion offer for Kaufhof. But recently, cash-strapped HBC, which also owns Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, sold its flash-sale division Gilt Groupe and the Lord & Taylor flagship store in New York.


From Berlin to Vienna. Following the purchase of the kika/Leiner furniture chain, Signa is also said to be exploring (paywall; in German) the possibility of opening a sister branch to the Berlin-based KaDeWe luxury department store in a kika/Leiner location in Vienna. The Karstadt-holding, which co-owns KaDeWe with Thailand’s Central Group, is apparently considering the centrally located building on Mariahilfer Strasse 18, which had originally been a department store.

Against all odds. New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway Mall proves that it's still possible to thrive - with the right strategy. Although the number of retail stores in the region declined 10 percent since 2008, the mall's vacancy rate is just 3 percent. Some of the latest new comers are H&M, Primark and Zara. Among its recipe for success is an affluent demographic plus its additon of Millennial-friendly restaurants and innovations like the gaming store, Saber VR.


Keeping his baby. Just 12 days after relieving Tomas Maier from his duties as creative director at Bottega Veneta, French luxury group Kering announced that it will also end its partnership with the Tomas Maier brand. Kering had partnered (press release) with the designer in a 50/50 joint-venture in November 2013. As part of the dissolution, the 61-year-old German designer will keep the rights to his name, though, allowing him to re-launch it if he so desires. For now, no plans have been announced.


From Shopbop to Bergdorf. To accelerate (paywall) its digital transformation, US luxury retail group Neiman Marcus has named Darcy Penick President of its Bergdorf Goodman division, effective September 4. Penick was previously CEO at the online fashion destination Shopbop, which is owned by Amazon. At Neiman Marcus she succeeds Joshua Schulman, who took the position of President and CEO at Coach last June. Penick reports to Neiman Marcus’ CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck.

Parting from Prada. As part of Prada’s internal reorganization, strategic marketing director Stefano Cantino has left (paywall) the Italian fashion label after 21 years of service. Aldo Gotti, who has been with the Italian company since 1990, also left. Most recently, he held the position of marketing director. Following a tepid FY 2017, CEO Patrizo Bertelli plans (earnings call slides) to improve productivity, invest in unconventional communication tools and enrich the product offer, all backed by a growing digital presence.


Mending mCommerce. Mobile shopping continues to grow globally, including India, and retailers are shifting their mobile strategies from convenience to entertainment. As they integrate apps, AR and voice assistants, they risk neglecting site optimization. In addition to the fun factor, retailers need to improve functions like one-click payment, geo-location based personalization and include comprehensive product and sales information.


Jersey, sure! The British Channel Island of Jersey is best known as an international finance center, but has also inspired the “jersey” fabric, which was brought to international fame by none other than Coco Chanel. To celebrate local businesses and lift its image, Dr. Tessa Hartmann (who set up the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2006) launched the Jersey Style Awards. Supported by Chopard, Bentley Motors and Ortac Aviation, the event on June 28 aims to add a ton on glamour to the famous tax shelter.


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