Welcome back to a new edition of The Spin. Big names are on the front page. Wrangler could be sold, British retailer House of Fraser has found a buyer at the eleventh hour and Barneys stays in its luxury cocoon on Madison avenue. All the news that's fit to print also include a reluctant Nike which is facing a gender discrimination lawsuit. Enjoy the read and feel free to share. Best, Caroline.


Strategic exploration. Giant VF Corp is exploring (paywall) strategic options for its denim business, according to the Wall Street Journal. When big American corporations are "exploring", professionals can read between the lines. VF Corp iconic brands Lee and Wangler are on the block because they failed to demonstrate substantial growth. Denim sales at VF Corp have declined by 5% since 2015 to $2.66 billion last year. Wall Street approves the move: VF Corp stock has risen to a 52 week high.


India too. Donald Trump is not the only one fighting against cheap Chinese textile imports. India recently doubled to 20% the import tax on more than 300 textile products to protect its domestic industry. Nevertheless, textiles from China are coming duty free to India via Bangladesh. China sends its raw fabrics to Bangladesh, where it is converted and forwarded duty free to India, thanks to the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).

Online and offline. The American equity behemoth Leonard Green is acquiring the Shade store , a customized window treatment company for about $325 million. The Shade store provides the advantage of combining an online presence as well as offline businesses. It has 60 showrooms across the United States, offering more than 1400 fabrics to its customers. Leonard Green previously prefered retailers with expensive real estate but lately the equity firm has refocused on niche brands mixing online and offline retail.


A last minute deal. Just hours after British House of Fraser went into administration, Mike Ashley, owner of the sports retail chain, Sports Direct announced that he would be purchasing the company for £90 million. Luxury House of Fraser has been the victim of the consumers who have reduced their purchases and people are shopping more online. The big question now is whether the new owner will keep all 59 House of Fraser's stores and 16 000 staff. British customers also worry about its upscale reputation.

Amazon tax. The fall of House of Fraser got the British finance minister Philip Hammond to think about a new way to "re-balance the playing field" between online retailers and their high street traditional competitors. The minister is considering a temporary value-add tax on online businesses. He was shocked when he learned that Amazon paid less corporate tax in England in 2017 than it had done the previous year.

Stay put. Barneys, symbolic of luxury retail, will stay on Madison avenue in New York. The owner of Barneys was negotiating for several months with its landlord Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp to renew its 10 year deal. The landlord had wanted to double the current annual rent of about $16 million. Barneys protested such a hike. A New York city arbitrator has decided that a lower increase was granted. Barneys is disappointed but the retailer will stay (paywall) put.


Too little, too late. Four former Nike employees have sued the company for gender discrimination against women with respect to pay, promotion and the conditions of employment. The complaint seeks a class action status. The issue first surfaced at Nike in March when a group of women showed Mark Parker, the CEO an internal survey on gender discrimination. The CEO reacted quickly: 11 executives were ousted. Still, the women want even more, the executive purge, they say was too little, too late.


It gloves. Who cares about the last very expensive designer bag? The It buy is a pair of summer gloves, in leather, lace or rubber. In its February issue Vogue covered Nicole Kidman's hands in a pink pair. The magazine does it again in September, this time with Rihanna. The trend seems to have legs. For fall, Chanel is offering pink and purple versions, Moschino prefers shiny black and Raf Simons gives a black, white and orange wool embroidered pair to his men.


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