Welcome back to The Spin! With the holiday season looming ahead, Amazon is testing a physical retail concept for fashion, while Walmart extends some of its online services to third-party sellers. The British Fashion Council’s also presented the nominees for its upcoming Fashion Awards with Swarovski. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Down on Baker Street. To test apparel sales in physical retail, Amazon just opened its first European fashion pop-up in London. Scheduled to run for a week, the 300 sqm store on Baker Street offers a rotating roster of its own and third-party fashion labels, supported by events like denim customization. Shoppers can buy on-site or order for home delivery. For last year’s Black Friday, Amazon installed a guerrilla store in London.

King of Convenience. Over in the US, rival Walmart plans to offer online shoppers free two-day shipping and in-store returns on many items purchased from third-party sellers on its online platform during the holiday season. This potentially adds millions of items to the service. To facilitate returns, customers can choose to print out return labels from walmart.com or take packages to one of Walmart’s 4,700 stores for shipping.

Reality bites. British retail chain Sports Direct has acquired (paywall; in German) a 4.6 percent stake in Debenhams, which is about to close a third of its 166 stores. Billionaire Mike Ashley’s company, which is currently testing Sports Direct concessions at Debenhams department stores, holds an option to increase its stake to 11 percent but denies interest in a complete takeover. Following Sports Direct’s acquisition of House of Fraser, which just announced the closure of its Manchester flagship, analysts already speculated about a possible merger of House of Fraser with Debenhams.

New sensation. H&M is expanding its fashion approach. In addition to investing in London’s styling start-up Thread, the Swedish retailer has launched a Conscious collection made of recycled materials, partnered with designers, and opened a smaller boutique-style store with higher-end styles in Stockholm. To connect its workers in real-time, the company also rolled out the Convo Retail Social Collaboration platform to its 500 US stores.


Gucci's slowdown. Thanks to a 35 percent jump (press release) in revenues at Gucci, French luxury group Kering increased its Q3 sales by 27.6 percent to $3.9 billion, beating analysts’ estimates of $3.75 billion. Still, Kering's three fastest growing brands, which include Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, registered a slow-down (paywall) in their recent average growth rates.

For love and honor. Balenciaga, Gucci and Off-White are some of the labels with multiple nominations for the British Fashion Council’s upcoming Fashion Awards with Swarovski, scoring mentions in the Accessories, Brand, Designer of the Year and/or Urban Luxe categories. Established and young British talent is also being honored, as are international models and business leaders. Find the entire list here.


Silenced. Just before the planned merger with Karstadt, HBC-owned German department store chain Galeria Kaufhof loses (paywall; in German) its outspoken champion for employee rights, Vice Chairman and head of the general works council Uwe Hoepfel. Hoepfel made headlines for publicly criticizing Kaufhof’s internal communication, calling it a scandal to find out about job cuts in the press. A successor should be elected by mid-November.

No more likes. Strellson has parted (paywall; in German) with its Managing Director Thorsten Link, citing unsatisfactory development at the Swiss menswear label. Link joined Strellson in April 2016, having previously worked for brands like Diesel and Hugo Boss. Until a successor is found, Marcel Braun, CEO of Kreuzlingen-based Holy Fashion Group will personally lead the brand, which made headlines last year by selling clothes for Facebook likes.


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