Welcome back to The Spin! Today we point out how algorithms can drive prices below profitability. We also tell you which German retailer just beat Amazon in court, which red-hot creative is getting his own museum retrospective, and who Victoria Beckham just hired only months after laying-off 60 people. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Slave to the (algo)rithm. As retailers including Walmart, Target and Amazon scramble to match each others’ price reductions, sophisticated algorithms drive an unsustainable race to the bottom. Third-party vendors who sell liquidated merchandise on those platforms are often part of the price chase, forcing some items into unprofitable CRaP status, where Amazon removes them from services like Prime or Subscribe & Save.


Answer this! New Yorker succeeded in a legal dispute with Amazon. The German fashion chain asked the online giant for details about a Polish third-party merchant who sold T-shirts with the New Yorker-owned Black Squad label. Amazon refused, but the Court of Appeals in Braunschweig upheld (paywall; in German) a previous court order, rejecting Amazon’s appeal. To protect brands, Amazon offers a registry on its website.

Adieu Athleticum. French sporting goods retailer Declathon is buying (in French) the majority of Athleticum and plans to gradually merge the Swiss sports chain’s 23 outlets into its own retail network by (paywall; in German) fall 2019. Athleticum was previously held by Geneva Maus Frères, which also owns Lacoste, Gant and Manor Department Stores.

U Understand. Large US retailers are teaming up with more authentic influencers who deeply understand their companies. Examples are young YouTube sensation Ryan (video) for Walmart, lifestyle influencer Arielle Charnas for Nordstrom and young Gen Z members for Target, who work to create genuine connections with customers.


New sensation. With retailers continuing to close stores, mall operators like Westfield and Pennsylvania Real Estate Trust bring retail incubators to US shopping centers, whose vacancy rates hit 8.6 percent in Q2. Beyond moving from digital to physical retail, companies can also test products with mall customers. Over in the UK, where eCommerce now accounts for 17.4 percent of retail sales, online players are increasingly expanding into brick-and-mortar stores, bringing more diversity to the high streets.


Beyond the bedroom. Following the pajamas-as-outerwear trend, fashion brands and sleepwear designers are now proposing (paywall) gauzy nightgowns that can be worn all day long. Working in bed, on the couch and even as sundresses on the beach, these crossover pieces by brands like London’s Egg and Three Graces, Danish fashion label Cecilie Brahnsen and Ukraine-based Sleeper allow for easy transition from the sheets to the streets.


We are family! Just three months after laying off about 60 workers from her unprofitable company, Victoria Beckham has employed her 19-year-old son Brooklyn as photographer to oversee her new luxury line. The move raised eyebrows for several reasons including the fact, that Brooklyn just dropped out of a photography course in New York.


Virgil on view. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is planning the first-ever museum retrospective of the work of Virgil Abloh, the DJ-turned-stylist-turned-Off-White designer and newly minted artistic director at Louis Vuitton. About half to three quarters of the “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” exhibit is going to be comprised (paywall) of fashion. Scheduled to run from June 8 to mid-September, it might also travel to other venues.


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