Welcome back to The Spin! Today we have a slew of tech news. As Britain is getting serious about a targeted tax on digital service companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google, German online retailer Zalando is expanding its collaboration with brick-and-mortar merchants, while JD.com has teamed with two universities to build an international research lab for blockchain technology. There's also a cat that found its way onto an actual catwalk. Enjoy the read! Cheers, Ulrike


Tax target. Britain is planning a targeted 2 percent tax on search engine sales, social media platforms and online marketplaces with annual revenues of more than £500 million, affecting companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google. According to chancellor Philip Hammond, it is unacceptable that large tech companies have gained significant value in the UK without paying reasonable taxes. The move is expected to bring in more than £400 million annually. At present, those companies only pay taxes on their UK profits.


Beating expectations. In optimistic Q3 reports, three companies just announced higher than expected results. New York-based Tapestry beat expectations due to increased sales of Kate Spade bags, US sports company Under Armour benefitted from international growth, and Paris' SMCP (paywall), which holds brands like Sandro and Maje, registered strong growth in the US.


Reducing the risks. Chinese online giant Jingdong Group has partnered with the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology to establish a research lab for blockchain. The goal is to promote (press release) industrial applications of blockchain technology for added efficiency, security and privacy. JD already runs a blockchain-as-a-service platform to help customers implement the technology without having to develop it from scratch.


Converse scores. About 4 years after filing 22 separate trademark lawsuits over its protected Chuck Taylor designs against brands like Ralph Lauren, Skechers and Walmart, Converse scored a win. A US Circuit court decided to revive the case involving alleged trademark infringement and dilution as well as unfair competition, disregarding a previous judgment (paywall) by the International Trade Commission and the Federal Circuit.

Decreasing the debt. Following the sale of the Kookai and Naf Naf fashion brands as well as its Pataugas, André (paywall) and Merkal shoe labels, highly leveraged French fashion company Vivarte is now off-loading Chevignon to the Royer Company and businessmen Stephane Collaert and Thierry Le Guenic. In 2018, Chevignon’s revenues were about $27 million. The sale should be finalised in the first quarter of 2019.

Martha's move. Martha Stewart has been named brand ambassador for Aerosoles. As part of the partnership, the home decor doyenne is collaborating on a line of comfortable footwear, functional handbags and accessories. A limited collection of equestrian rain boots is available for pre-order at aerosoles.com and will be sold on QVC as well. The complete Martha Stewart for Aerosoles shoe collection will be released for spring with handbags and accessories to follow.


Triple threat. Zalando is expanding (paywall; in German) its collaboration with brick-and-mortar merchants, tripling the number of cooperating stores to 600 by 2019. After that, the German e-tailer plans to bring the connected retail model abroad, starting (in German) with The Netherlands. Zalando also launched a new product recommendation tool, which automatically creates new outfits based on customers' shopping history.


Big turn on the catwalk. A playful cat recently crashed the runway at the 2018 Esmod International Fashion Show in Istanbul, Turkey. First playing with models' pant legs and dangling sashes it ended up elegantly walking the runway before heading to the front row to get some cuddles from the audience.


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