Welcome back to The Spin! Walmart plans to create vibrant “Town Centers” in some of its under-used parking lots, Swarovski speeds up crystal co-creation processes, and actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company Goop has been sued again over allegedly harmful health claims - this time in the UK. And then there is Kanye West's creative contribution to Blexit. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


When Walmart goes to town. US retail giant Walmart plans to redevelop under-used land around its big-box stores into “Town Centers” with shops, restaurants, parks, fitness areas, entertainment venues and community spaces. To integrate the projects with regional communities, the company collaborates with the respective municipalities. The first Town Center is scheduled to open next spring in Loveland, Colorado, with about a dozen to follow next year.

All on bord. Thanks to strong customer engagement, Macy's is growing its Style Crew influencer program. The initiative, which piloted last fall with 20 employees acting as brand ambassadors on social media, has grown to include more than 300 staff members promoting Macy’s beauty and apparel offerings. Next year, the department store chain plans to roll it out to its entire staff to promote all of its merchandise categories.


The other side of fear. In its new Manufaktur, crystal specialist Swarovski unites (paywall; in German) its very best production technologies under one roof, with faster prototype development allowing for speedier crystal creation with customers. The building (image gallery) is part of a larger complex which also continues on a 36,000 sqm former crystal grinding center, where the world’s most modern crystal factory is scheduled to open next year.

Objectionable claims. Following a legal dispute over vaginal quartz eggs in California, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company Goop has now been reported to UK authorities over potentially dangerous health advice. Watchdog Good Thinking Society, which campaigns against pseudo-science, alleges (paywall) that Goop’s advertising for over 100 wellness products makes potentially harmful claims.


LVMH's philosophy. French luxury group LVMH has added (in Italian) a philosopher to its board. Sophie Chassat, founder and president of the Paris-based Intikka consulting group, is a corporate philosophy and branding specialist whose strengths (in French) include finding the right words to capture the essence of a brand or product.

The exodus continues. With Raimund Axmann, another long-term manager is leaving troubled German fashion company Gerry Weber. The executive vice president for product was originally scheduled (in German) to leave in June 2020. He will now depart (paywall; in German) on October 31. Axmann came to the Halle-based group in 2006 from German pants supplier Mac.


Athleisure's ascent. Sneakers, T-shirts and yoga pants have long been an integral part of the Americans dress code. Nike remains the country’s largest apparel company and Canada’s Lululemon is one of the newer companies on the bandwagon. Now, historian Deidra Clemente has revealed the underlying forces behind the longevity of the athleisure trend, which spans from innovative sports coats of the late 19th century to today’s sneaker culture.


Kanye's Blexit. Trump supporter Kanye West is urging African Americans to exit the Democratic party. To support his message, the rapper and Yeezy designer has designed an apparel collection for the Blexit campaign, featuring tops and caps priced $25 to $28. The line debuted last Saturday at the Young Black Leadership Summit and is also available at Blexit’s online shop. On Monday, his name has been removed from Blexit's product description but was still visible on other sites.


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