Oct
 22
 2018



Caroline

Hello,

Welcome back to this new edition of The Spin. The economic news is not so great. The consequences of Sears bankruptcy are slowly been seen. There's even a political impact. David's Bridal still has some life remaining, but that company is also on the verge of insolvency. Fortunately, there is still an outlet for dreams and fantasy. Alibaba is organizing its first global Singles' day and Neiman Marcus has just released its Christmas catalog. Santa Claus lives, it's Neiman Marcus to the rescue! Enjoy the read. All the best. Caroline.



markets

Alibaba wants you. This year's Alibaba's massive Singles' Day shopping event that takes place on November 11 is (paywall) "not only a festival for Chinese people, it's for the whole world" proclaims Alibaba's CEO, Daniel Zhang. The Singapore e-commerce platform Lazarda, controlled by Alibaba, will host sales in South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand...) Australia, Canada and the US will also celebrate the state of celibacy. Last year Singles' Day brought in $25,3 billion sales.



The Brits are coming. Walpole, the promoter of the British luxury industry is paying a visit (paywall) this week to New York to reinforce its link to the American market. Molton Brown, knitwear manufacturer Johnstons of Elgin, Savile Row tailors' Kathryn Sargent ...are all part of the trip. Seventy five percent of British luxury brands quote the US as a priority growth market, especially when Brexit uncertainties threaten English exports. The US is a top luxury market valued at $85 billion.





retail

Sears, the day after... The Sears bankruptcy will have ripple effects on its big vendors Levi's, Hanes, Lee, Wrangler... They had already required upfront payment before shipping a few months ago but now that the crisis is worsening, they need to find alternative distribution channels. VF Corp, owner of Lee, Wrangler and Timberland could see its sales reduced by $75 million, according to Wells Fargo. That's one of the reasons why Wall Street remained bearish on the stock, when VF Corp announced its second quarter.



...and afterwards. Surprisingly, there are (paywall) also political consequences. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was a college roommate of Ed Lampert, Sears chairman. He is still a good friend and owned Sears stocks until recently. At the same time the Secretary is on the board of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which picks up the tab for retirees when companies no longer pay. Several US senators want Steven Mnuchin to recuse himself before PBGC for anything related to Sears.



Bankruptcy's bells. David's bridal has missed (paywall) a key interest payment on $270 million of unsecured notes. It could be the first signal that the company is considering bankruptcy. David's bridal, owned by 2 investment funds, Leonard Green and Clayton, Dubilier and Rice seems to have too much debt. The company, which has 300 stores in North America, Puerto Rico and England, suffers from online competition and a declining wedding rate. Legally, David's Bridal has 30 days to catch up on payments.





people

Addio signora. Wanda Ferragamo who built her husband's shoe business into a luxury empire has died. She was 96. When her husband himself died in 1960, she had no business experience but a keen sense of intuition and perseverance. With the help of her 6 children, she expanded the brand into ready to wear, accessories and fragrances. She was (paywall) still working in her nineties. "Time flies when I am in my office" she used to say. Marilyn, Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren...were famous customers.





tech

Science makeover. This weekend Vertical Networks showed (paywall) fashion makeovers backed by science on Snapchat. The stylists rely on serious scientific data from the National Institute of Health or academic journals to craft make-up and apparel transformations. The first episode, showed on Snapchat Discover is about a woman with a shy demeanor who wants to seem more approachable. Vertical Networks, founded by Elizabeth Murdoch, calls the new show "Styled by science".





last

Dream on. This is that special time of the year: Neiman Marcus is releasing (paywall) its Christmas book. The 2018 edition is 275 pages long and full of 823 products. The highest priced fantasy gift is a $7.1 million solar powered yacht, with interiors inspired by Neiman Marcus fashion director. The least expansive is a 16$ crumpled map of London. Not seduced? Try the $300 000 outfit, created by Oscar winning designer Colleen Atwood. For that price, the customer will spend the entire day with her.







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