Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Spin! As Walmart and Amazon fight over domination of physical and digital retail, hundreds of global online marketplaces are trying on their part to replace traditional department stores. We also feature some interesting new menswear brands and tell you, why some companies are now putting collagen into their fabrics. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


Combat of giants. Amazon and Walmart are competing in most areas of their businesses, both looking for dominance of the physical as well as the digital retail space. Jet.com, which Walmart acquired in 2016 in a direct move against Amazon, plans to open a fulfillment center to increase business in New York, as Amazon is luring customers to its Whole Foods stores by offering a $10 deduction on purchases of $10 or more.


The new department stores. There are over 100 global eCommerce marketplaces worldwide. Last year, the top 75 sold goods valued almost $1.5 trillion. This accounts for almost half of all global online sales. On top of that, they grew more than 30%, twice as fast as online retail overall. One of the latest developments is the planned globalization of Amazon's platform for medical supplies.

End of an obsession. Candian YM Inc is going to discontinue its New Jersey-based Annie Sez retail chain, which was one of North America’s very first off-price destinations. Some of the stores are going to be converted to the sister concept Mandee, a budget brand for 18 to 25 year-olds, others will be closed as their leases expire. YM acquired the stores in 2013 through the purchase of assets from bankrupt US rival, Big M.


Manning up. Although NY-based designers currently face tough times, NYFW Men's revealed several interesting labels poised to take on the world. Among them are Ovadia & Sons, which just got signed (paywall) by Gate Berlin, Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong and Galeries Lafayette in Quatar, as well as Head of State+, whose stockists include United Arrows Japan and Assembly.

Collagen collections. Hanes Brands' German hosiery label Nur Die has launched (paywall; in German) a sock style made of a collagen-enhanced fiber that contains 34 percent SeaCellTMLT algae. The bio-degradable Pronature Komfort Socke is designed to provide the skin with moisture, minerals, trace elements and anti-oxidants. Meanwhile, Seattle-based brand Buki came out with a capsule collection made of collagen-enhanced proprietary fabric that is supposed to deliver the protein directly into the skin.


Talk to me like humans do. New research reveals that consumers are wary of too much retail tech. Instead of interacting exclusively with voice-assistants or chat bots, they prefer a mix of human and AI assistance. In a best case scenario, AI works in the background to support humans in their direct communication with customers and take out the pain of brick-and-mortar shopping.


Million dollar mall. New York-based DRA Advisors has sold its 35,000 m2 lifestyle shopping center The Streets of Brentwood to Chicago-based real-estate investment company Fairbourne Properties for an estimated $87.5 million. The high-profile grocery-and theatre-anchored mall in the San Francisco Bay Area also includes an AMC Theatre and a Farmers Market. The deal indicates that the region's retail scene remains robust.


Walmart's Lovesick Blues. Eleven-year-old Mason Ramsey rose to Internet fame by yodeling (video) Hank Williams’ "Lovesick Blues" in a Walmart isle, right by the clean up station. Under a record deal with Big Loud Records and Atlantic Records, his first album will be released July 20. Walmart already rewarded the young yodeler with a live stream on its Facebook page and a college scholarship.


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