Happy Monday and welcome back to The Spin! After years of rising retail rents, prices are finally coming down in Manhattan. To keep up with shoppers, Snapchat tracks user movements, while Target now co-creates product with selected customers. We also tell you, why a British supermarket chain is turning off sounds for an hour every Saturday. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Slip sliding away. Between 2010 and 2017, Manhattan retail rents went up a staggering 50 percent, prompting an increasing number of merchants to close shop. In response to long empty stretches on major shopping streets, rents are now coming down, especially in formerly red-hot areas like Fifth Avenue. The average price per sqft already dropped 12.1 percent to $658, and some landlords are willing to take even less.


Co-creating with Target. A secret app allows about 600 selected Target customers to give real-time feedback to the US discounter’s designers, who can tweak product according to consumer feedback. The trademarked Studio Connect technology permits interaction between customers and designers at any point of the development process. It aims to build excitement by letting participants feel that the are receiving exclusive treatment.

Snap decision. More than 90 percent of Snapchat users share their location while they are shopping, allowing for deep insight into their movements. Snap’s first Footprints report that its users spend about 20 percent more on gifts than customers who don’t use the app. During the last holiday season, Victoria’s Secret, Target and Macy’s were (paywall) the top shopping destinations of Snapchat users, while Staples, MAC and Kay Jewelers were favorite retailers for last-minute purchases.


The sound of silence. To make shopping more comfortable for people with autism and noise sensitivities, Morrissons has designated one hour per week to quiet time. Each Saturday, from 9am to 10am, the British supermarket chain will turn off the music, minimize the noise and dim the lights. The “Quieter Hour” initiative (press release) is supported by the British National Autistic Society.


Avon's web. To survive in the changing market place, Avon is trying to shift from a door-to-door to a digital model. As the brand’s business is digitized and product development sped up, innovative online brochures, Facebook and Youtube videos increasingly replace the Avon Ladies of yesteryear.


Musical chairs. As part of the restructuring of its strategic business unit (SGE), German Gerry Weber International AG has named Peter Krosta EVP of distribution and Managing Director of Gerry Weber Retail GmbH, effective September 1. Krosta reports to Johannes Ehling. He will share leadership of the SGE with Rena Marx, who was promoted to Creative VP in March. Raimund Axman, VP Product for Gerry Weber and Walkabout, is going to leave the company in June 2020.

Message in the brooches. Political statements have always been part of fashion, currently in the form of controversial slogan accessories and T-shirts - but also through the choice of particular styles. Who can forget the 1942 Zoot Suit riots in Los Angeles, or the more recent US’s feminist pantsuit nation movement. But the real art lies in hiding the message for those who are able to decipher it, superbly exhibited by Queen Elizabeth II. Her choice of brooches during President Trump’s visit included one given to her by the Obamas and one the Queen Mother wore to the funeral of King George VI.


Perpetual pink. This fall, The Museum at FIT is going to dedicate (paywall) an entire exhibition to the color pink, which just made headlines as tint of Meghan Markle's trench dress. Exploring the hue from the 18th century until today, “Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color” aims (press release) to correct misconceptions and question cliches. September 7 - January 5, 2019.


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