Welcome back to The Spin! As Walmart continues to expand its eCommerce activities, rival Amazon is making headlines by raising the minimum wage for all of its workers in the US. Alibaba has also been busy, mulling its move into India. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Big deal! Walmart continues its foray into eCommerce with the purchase of plus-size specialist Eloquii, which will be run by Walmart’s SVP of digital consumer brands and Bonobos founder, Andy Dunn. The $100 million acquisition is in line with the retail giant’s plan to build a portfolio of direct to consumer brands with a unique assortment. Eloquii, which also operates five stores, offers trend-driven fashion for women size 14 and up.


Do the right thing! On November 1, Amazon will raise the minimum wage for all of its US workers to $15 per hour. While some consider the move a small price to save its reputation, Amazon will also lobby to lift the federal minimum wage to the same level from $7.25, receiving praise from one of his biggest critics, Senator Bernie Sanders. US minimum wage has long fallen behind the inflation rate and consistently lost buying power.

Waiting game. First it seemed that Karstadt owner Signa and Kaufhof owner HBC could not merge (paywall) their two department store chains fast enough. On September 11, Signa announced the acquisition of 50.01% of the operating business and about half of Kaufhof's real estate. But by October 1, both companies had still not filed the neccessary application with the Federal Cartel Office. This was confirmed (paywall; in German) by the FOC on Monday at the request of leading German fashion trade magazine, TextilWirtschaft.


Tough job. The JCPenney Company has named retail veteran Jill Soltau its new CEO, effective October 15. Soltau joins the ailing department store chain from the fabric and crafts chain JoAnn Stores, where she served as President and CEO, and has also worked for Shopko in the past. She succeeds Marvin Ellison, who unexpectedly left the Plano/Texas-based retailer in May to join Lowe’s.

Bringing back Brioni! Following the unexpected departure of Nina-Maria Nitsche, Italian menswear brand Brioni quietly named (paywall; in German) Norbert Stumpfl its new creative director. A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins School, Stumpfl already worked (in Italian) at brands like Adidas, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Berluti. At Brioni, he has his work cut out for him, having to reassure clients after a failed experiment with former creative director Justin O’Shea who promoted goth looks and collaboration with the rock band Metallica failed.


Unraveling Stitch. Following disappointing Q4 results, the stock of online styling service Stitch Fix fell over 35 percent on Tuesday. To return to faster growth, the personal-shopping company has recently added Stitch Fix Kids, expanded mens' offerings and sizing, and now looks to enter (paywall) the UK. The San Francisco-based company also plans to add additional categories.


Buy high! To entice customers to make high-value online purchases this holiday season, India’s largest online retailers Amazon and Flipkart are offering new finance options including an interest-free credit line of up to about $820. Customers can access the card-less credit through the retailers’ apps. In addition, some e-tailers provide buy-back guarantees and no-cost EMIs.

New player. Alibaba plans to bring its new retail concept based on integrated online and conventional retailing to India. The Chinese online giant has already announced a Cloud partnership with DLF shopping malls and is said to be in talks with all major Indian retail players about cooperations in areas like omni-channel, supply chain and enhanced customer experience including AR.


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