Welcome to Friday's edition of The Spin. Today we have a lot of retail news for you to digest. The Chinese giant Alibaba is expanding at rapid velocity, whereas ancient Sears is not faring well. The American retailer is yet again shuttering more stores while its direct competitors are doing much better. There are also a lot of movements in the executive ranks. Lord and Taylor just hired a resident style expert and talking about style, superstar Rihanna strikes again. She is showing her lingerie Savage X Fenty at New York Fashion Week. Enjoy the read. Best, Caroline.


Bright cave. China's tech giant Alibaba is on a roller coaster. The company just announced for its second quarter a 61% rise of its revenue to $12.2 billion and its popular website Tmall reported a 34% sales growth. Young middle class consumers are said to be (paywall) pessimistic about the escalating trade war between China and the United States. Some of them are turning into (paywall) penny pinchers, but Alibaba's products, at least for now, still seem irresistible.


Sears agony... The slow agony of Sears holdings is nearing its end. The American company just announced that it would close 46 more unprofitable stores in November. These earmarked Sears and Kmart stores are added to 200 condemned locations that Sears had reported in January and May. Wall Street analysts are (paywall) increasingly pessimistic about Sears future. It will be hard to bounce back from years of downsizing and neglect. So far Sears shares have fallen 68% in 2018.


...doesn't spill over. Sears streak of bad luck doesn't affect other traditional retailers, on the contrary. Michael Lasser, UBS analyst says that he is happily surprised by the breadth of success at Walmart and Target. The latter company just reported its strongest same store growth in 13 years. Other retailers are also on their best performance. Nordstrom, Kohl's and Macy's are refreshing their stores, improving services and adding e-commerce delivery options. American consumers appreciate this retail renaissance.


Layoff and old ladies. Helmut Lang, part of Japanese conglomerate Fast Retailing, is shrinking (paywall) its operations to finally reach profitability: as many as 40 employees could be affected. However, this brutal change of strategy doesn't push the company to lay low. The brand is now publicizing its audacious autumn-winter 2018 campaign. Helmut Lang selected senior models over 80. Among them, Dilys, 86 years old, the oldest female skydiver. During the turn around plan, the show must go on.


Pink slip. Denise Landman, Pink CEO at Victoria's Secret is leaving the company. She will retire at the end of 2018, announced L Brands executives, the American owners of Victoria's Secret. Pink is a secondary brand, younger and less expansive than Victoria's Secret and better equipped to compete. Nevertheless, Pink is experiencing a decline in store traffic. Denise Landman will be replaced by Amy Hauk, another L Brands executive, coming from the subsidiary Bath and Body Works.

Pink power. The TV anchor Catt Sadler is taking (paywall) on a new role at Lord and Taylor as resident style expert. According to Vanessa Lefebvre, the president of L and T, the recruit is "a journalist, an entrepreneur and a bad ass woman" who will be curating looks via the company's website. Catt Sadler emerged in December when she left her job at E! News TV after learning that her male co host was earning double her salary. L and T, a subsidiary of Canadian HBC, just loves to put women in high places.

Century 21 in mourning. Al Gindi, the co-founder of Century 21 Department stores has died (paywall) at 96, announced his family. The leader of the Sephardic Jewish community and his late cousin Sonny Gindi opened their first store downtown Manhattan in 1961. There are today 15 Century 21 outlets in the New York area. Other off price stores such as Filene's Basement and Loehmann's have disappeared, but Century 21 still attracts a lot of foreign tourists, who expect to find in the store better brands at lower prices.


Rih is back. Rihanna is back. The singer is returning to the New York Fashion Week schedule with her line of lingerie Savage x Fenty on September 12 in Brooklyn. The exact location is not yet known, but Rihanna is promising an "immersive experience". She will showcase a see-now-buy-now collection, immediately available at and then a few pop up stores. The presentation will be at 7.30PM, just after Marc Jacobs and will close New York Fashion Week.


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