Welcome back to The Spin! As online retail seems to plateau, innovative brick-and-mortar retailers are returning to growth. Fueled by the renewed interest in physical stores, there might be a bidding war on the horizon for Ceconomy's stake in German Metro AG. We also tell you about a new exhibition focused exclusively on Islamic style. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Losing its luster. Several small sellers are considering to diversify some of their product away from Amazon. Although the online giant continues to lure marketers with its broad reach, its non-transparent account closures and absorption of whole product ranges into its own range has a sobering effect. Alternative platforms include as well as eBay and Etsy.


Swinging pendulum. Indicating further backlash for eCommerce, innovative brick-and-mortar retailers that reduced their inventories and match the comforts of online shopping have been experiencing their best sales growth in years. Winners include Nordstrom, Target and Walmart, which is catching up with Amazon. On the other hand, those that have not evolved fast enough continue to hover on the brink of bankruptcy.

The highest bidder. Ceconomy’s planned sale of its $500 million stake in German Metro AG might turn into a bidding war. In addition to Czech Investor Daniel Křetínský, who’s already in official talks with Ceconomy, Shanghai-based investment group Fosun International as well as several private equity funds are said to have joined (in German) takeover discussions, lifting Metro's share price.


Power Moves. H&M has promoted (paywall; in German) Martino Pessina from Head of Global Sales to President of North America. He succeeds Daniel Kulle, who became Senior Advisor to H&M Group CEO in August. Pessina's former position goes to Carlos Duarte, who previously served as Country Manager for the UK and Irish markets. North America is H&M’s second most important market after Germany, but business recently weakened (paywall) with US sales falling 6 percent in the first half of the year.

A total injustice. Although it’s not even translated into English yet, Giulia Mensitieri’s book about the exploitation of creatives in the French fashion industry is already making waves. Critics complain that the Le plus beau métier du monde author only interviewed 50 people who all spoke off the record, but no one has disputed her observations either. As Karl Lagerfeld famously observed (in French): Fashion is a total injustice.


Breaking boundaries. Celebrity-supported eco shoe brand Allbirds has opened a 450 sq.m. flagship store on New York’s hip Spring Street, replacing its temporary outpost on nearby Prince Street. The sustainable brand’s retail strategy reflects its products’ minimalist design, with additional stores planned in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington as well as abroad (paywall).

Walking the distance. Urban norm-core fans have discovered a new staple: Red suede veldskoens - African for “bush shoes” - which were developed in the 1960s by German tanner Ewald Schier for farmers and settlers who had to trudge over Africa’s harsh scrubland. These rustic Swakop Vellies lace-up flats are available in farming stores and small boutiques as well as the Munich basement of Schier’s grandson, Phillip.


Lifting the veil. A major exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young museum highlights the diverse dress codes of Islamic style, from Nike hijab and burkinis to couture gowns. Contemporary Muslim Fashions runs from September 22 - January 9. Separately, photographer Carlos Khalil Guzman’s Muslims of America photo series offers a more personal point of view.


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