Welcome back to The Spin! The bloodletting continues at US shopping malls - and at HBC's German Galeria Kaufhof. Meanwhile, eCommerce continues to thrive - even in the not-yet-Amazoned luxury sector. Enjoy the read - and your weekend! Best, Ulrike


Here comes the rain again. Due to bad weather, Q1 sales at HBC-owned Galeria Kaufhof fell 8 percent, increasing (in German) its loss by 40 percent to almost €30 million. Kaufhof already reduced full-time store personnel by 1,000 to 8,900 and cut temporary staff by 35 percent following last year’s 50 percent reduction. As reported, HBC is considering a Kaufhof joint-venture with Austrian Signa Group's Karstadt division. A merger of the two department store chains should bring savings of about €200 million.



Textbook case. As vacancies in US malls increase, retailers have started to fight operators over increasing costs. The latest example is fashion chain Gap, which has filed a lawsuit against Westfield (now: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield) in May, alleging fraudulent accounting that resulted in excessive mall expenses at more than two dozen Westfield malls. Included (paywall) in the textbook case are trash collectors which - according to Gap - are charging exaggerated non-competitive rates.

Digital deluxe. By 2025, luxury eCommerce is expected to grow from 9 to 25 percent of the high-end market. Though still concerned about online, LVMH is expanding (in Italian) its digital efforts, which currently contributes (paywall; in German) about €3 billion to annual sales. The group's approach is based on service and exclusive product like the new capsule collection, Louis Vuitton has just launched (press release) at LVMH’s 24Sèvres.com.


Birkenstock bites back. Last year, Birkenstock stopped working with Amazon due to the prevalence of fake product on the platform. But on Prime Day, according to the German brand, the online giant led (paywall; in German) customers who searched for the label to an area that looked like a Birkenstock shop with Prime discounts. Only when a specific size was entered, were they forwarded to third party vendors. A recent court decision in Germany grants brands the right (in German) to control their distribution - including a ban of Amazon.

Showtime! The shuffling of designers continues at NYFW as Victoria Beckham moves her show from the Big Apple to London, while Proenza Schouler has decided to return after showing in Paris two seasons. Altuzarra, Rodarte and Alexander Wang also defected, while Escada will debut designer Niall Sloan’s first collection for the German label in New York.

Bejeweled. About 230 objects including headdresses, ear ornaments, brooches, belts, necklaces and rings from 2,600 BC until the present will be (paywall) on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art this fall, flanked by sculptures, paintings, prints and photographs. Designed to examine the role of jewelry throughout history in cultures across the globe, the “Jewelry: The Body Transformed” exhibition features an encyclopedic assortment of 230 objects; from November 12 to February 24, 2019.


The big clean up. To avoid paying for “fake fans” on social media, influencer agencies are now basing their fees on impressions, not follower accounts. Twitter has just eliminated a slew of questionable accounts, resulting in a 2 to 5 percent decline in followers at major personalities - and 12.4 percent drop at its own account. Since offensive users can be barred from social media, US Congress is inquiring what exactly constitutes as disagreeable.


How to be human. As a response to the #MeToo movement - and to encourage conversation about what it means to be a man, Bonobos launched its #EvolveTheDefinition campaign, which immediately went viral. A diverse group of men, who first read traditional definitions of masculine (muscular, strong, powerful), then explain (video) how they define themselves: being brave enough to be who they are, to love and to be loved… On the Bonobos webpage, real people can add their own definitions.


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