Oct
 15
 2018



Christopher

Hello,

Happy Monday and welcome a fresh new edition of The Spin. As one troubled US retailer officially files for bankruptcy today another anxious Australian one is going back to "the tried and true" to bring back its business. In addition, Walmart has fired a new round in its war against Amazon and consumers in Japan are preparing to pay more at the registers next year. Enjoy the read and I wish you a great week ahead! Best, Christopher



retail

Black Monday. As we reported last week, American retailer Sears Holdings is filing for bankruptcy and will formally do so today after not being able to make a $134 million debt payment. Once the #1 retailer in the United States, the chain will immediately close 150 of its 700 Sears and Kmart stores, keep another 300 open and place the remaining 250 under review. Its CEO, Eddie Lambert, is expected to contribute to a financing package of up to $600 million to keep the company afloat after it enters Chapter 11.


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Buying Bare. Walmart said on Friday that it has purchased online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities for an undisclosed amount. It is the second time this month the retail giant has bought an e-tailer (it announced it was purchasing the plus-size site Eloquii for $100 million on October 2) and is the latest volley against its rival Amazon. Bare Necessities' CEO, Noah Wrubrel, will remain in that role but also now be in charge of intimates for walmart.com and its sister site jet.com.



My, my, my. Troubled Australian department store Myer, which lost $486 million in the past year, has revived its well-known "Myer is My Store" advertising campaign after dropping it four years ago. The familiar tagline, which Myer used from 2006 to 2014, returned in TV commercials that began airing over the weekend. Myer hopes to re-attract its lost everyday customer base with the campaign after its failed attempt to go more upscale.





brands

A stake in Slowear. Asian investment capital company NUO Capital is a new minority owner of Slowear, the Venice, Italy-based company behind such so-called "smart casual" brands as Incotex, Zanone, Montedoro and Glanshirt. The terms of the deal were not disclosed but NUO, which is run by Hong Kong's powerful Pao Cheng family, is expected to help grow the company's presence in Asia and double its annual turnover as a result.





people

That was quick. Gernot Lenz, who came aboard as the CEO of s.Oliver Group just nine months ago, has left the company due to "divergent views" about its leadership. Bernd Freier, who founded this German company and served as its CEO until 2014, will reassume (in German; paywall) the role.





tech

Not lost in translation. Retailers on New York's posh Madison Avenue partnered with language assistance app Jeenie earlier this month during China's Golden Week holiday to better communicate with Chinese shoppers. Participating stores included Roberto Cavalli and Fred Leighton, which employed this app that uses actual third-party humans to translate (press release) instead of robots. Chinese customers – whether at home or abroad – now account for 32 percent of luxury sales worldwide.





markets

Bargain boom. A newly released study by the National Retail Federation reveals that the vast majority (89 percent) of US consumers shop at discount retailers including off-price chains, dollar stores, thrift shops and outlets. Neither age nor income affected the results; nearly 90 percent of people who make $50,000 to more than $100,000 per year said they frequent discount stores. And clothing is the top item that they buy at them.



Taxing Tokyo. Japan, which launched the latest edition of Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo earlier today with a show by newcomer label Aoi Wakana, is raising its national sales tax for the first time in more than four years. The fee will rise to 10 percent from the current 8 percent as of October 2019. The move, which is needed in order for the government to continue to finance social security, is unsurprisingly expected to reduce consumer spending there.







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