Welcome back to The Spin! As Canadian fashion chain Jean Machine prepares to close its entire store network, several US retailers are hoping for a successful holiday season to secure their survival. To increase convenience, Walmart and Target are speeding up their customers' visits with new technologies. And then there's some very specific speculation about the potential location of Amazon’s second headquarters. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


I gotta get outta here. Large US retailers like Walmart and Target are employing mobile technology to help customers speed up their visits. This ends a decades-old tradition of trying to keep customers inside as long as possible. Among the in-store technologies used for better efficiency are mobile search and check-out devices, while customers also appreciate more personalization.


Desperado. Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and Claire’s Stores are among a list of eight US retailers which cannot afford a bad holiday season this year. Neiman Marcus’ credit rating was just downgraded to CCC-, indicating a very high credit risk, J. Crew has no own app to attract Millennials, and Claire’s needs to prove sustainable sales after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. Additional names are Sears, Kmart, JC Penney and Charlotte Russe.

Goodbye to the Machine. Due to mounting losses, Canadian store chain Jean Machine Clothing, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, will close all 24 stores by the end of February. The 42-year-old retailer was acquired by Comark Services in March 2017. For now, its online store, which carries brands like Levi’s, Guess, Tom Tailor and Mavi, will remain open.


Bring your friends close... Digitally native brands like Bonobos and Warby Parker already operate more than 600 stores in the US, proving that brick-and-mortar retail is not going to disappear anytime soon. Lured by cheap mall space and driven by increased online competition and advertising costs, some of these online brands embrace a strong physical presence as part of their long-term growth strategy.

...and your enemies closer. Amazon might have found the location for its long-planned second US headquarters. Of the 20 candidates on the shortlist, which includes Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., Crystal City in Northern Virginia might actually make the cut. The town is located just south of the country’s capital, where Donald Trump - currently one of Jeff Bezoz’ most influential critics - is based.


Back in the saddle again. The former head of Berlin’s Bread & Butter, Karl-Heinz Müller is back with L.O.C.K., short for Labels of Common Kin. The B2B fashion trade show features (paywall; in German) independent and small brands like Red Wing, Denham and Nigel Cabourn, many of which Müller carries at his 14oz store in Berlin. L.O.C.K. premieres January 15-17 during Berlin Fashion Week in Hangar 7 at Berlin's former Tempelhof airport.


Mourning Alain Chevalier... Alain Chevalier, one of the two founders of the French luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has died (in French) at age 87. The Algiers-born champagne mogul merged his Moët Hennessy group with Henry Racamier’s Louis Vuitton in 1987 to form LVMH. Two years later, he became part of a large internal fight for power, which was ultimately won by Bernard Arnault.

...and Andreas Schmeidler. Following a long illness, the chairman of Russian department store company Tsum passed away (in Italian) last Saturday. A savvy online expert, who once moved his family’s textile business into alternative distribution channels like TV and mail-order, Schmeidler came to Tsum (paywall) in 2016 following a stint at French flash-sale retailer Vente-Privee. He was 73 years old.


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