Happy Wednesday and welcome back to The Spin! The retail landscape continues to evolve with Zara launching ship-from-store service, St. John opening a "salon", and Charles Vögele filing for bankruptcy protection in Austria. There is also a clever new tech invention by Jeff Bezos' kids. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Emulating Amazon. To speed up delivery times, Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara will enable about 2,000 of its brick-and-mortar stores around the world to fulfill online orders. According to Pablo Isla, CEO of Zara's parent company Inditex, stores often carry items that are sold out online. Having the ability to fulfill those orders increases (paywall) the odds of making full-price sales. The new ship-from-store service will be launched later this year.


Ripple effect. Following Charles Vögele’s bankruptcy protection in Switzerland, the fashion retailer’s Austrian subsidiary has also filed (paywall; in German) for bankruptcy protection, putting the fate of 102 stores and 711 employees at risk. The company is over-indebted (in German) by about €20 million and intends to continue its discussions with investors to restructure. Negotiations are (in German) also underway for the Vögele sister companies in Slovenia and Hungary.


RL joins H&M. US design house Ralph Lauren, which just beat Wall Street expectations on strong sales of outerwear and denim, is going to cease the usage of mohair in its products. The decision follows an animal cruelty investigation (press release) by PETA. Ralph Lauren joins about 300 companies including H&M, Zara and Diane von Furstenberg, which are dropping or phasing out mohair.

St. John's salon. In response to the changing retail landscape, St. John is testing (paywall) a salon-style concept with a highly personalized approach including car services, tailoring, event spaces and a restaurant. New CEO Eran Cohen plans to bring the Kansas City House concept to a few additional markets, but for now there are no plans to fully convert the brand’s 29 existing stores.


Burn before wearing. According to experts, recent news of companies like H&M and Burberry destroying millions of dollars worth of product are just the tip of the iceberg. Global apparel production has doubled in the past 15 years and garments are discarded faster than ever. Only about 1 percent of clothing is ultimately recycled, and due to oversupply and poor quality, even demand from charities is on the decline. Global production already exceeds 100 billion garments a year.


Movin' on up. To lead its relaunch (in Italian), embattled (earnings release) luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo has promoted Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi to CEO. Following ten years at Gucci, Le Divelec Lemmi joined (in Italian) the Florence-based company in April 2018 as General Manager and Chief Corporate Officer. She takes over from Eraldo Poletto, who left the company in March and is now CEO and Brand President at Tapestry-owned Stuart Weitzman.

Digitizing Deichmann. German shoe chain Deichmann has appointed (paywall; in German) Sebastian Hasebrink as Chief Digital Officer. The position was newly created to accelerate the company’s digital efforts including eCommerce, marketing, CRM and data analytics. Fast growing Deichmann, which started eCommerce in 2000, operates a total of 4,000 physical and 36 online stores with annual growth rates of 30 to 65 percent. The group includes Deichmann, Roland, MyShoes and Snipes.


Roomba-a-a-ah! Jeff Bezos’ kids might have just invented the next tech gadget by taping an Amazon Echo device to iRobot’s Roomba 960 vacuum, which already has Alexa capabilities. Such “Alexa on wheels” could potentially follow the user around the house, eliminating the need to have an Echo in every room. Bezos used to be an strategic advisor to Roomba - and the vacuum somewhat resembles the Kiva robots, which move (video) merchandise around in Amazon’s warehouses...


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