Welcome back to this new edition of The Spin. Today we are visiting the new Nike and Levi Strauss flagships in New York. Naturally, they are filled with innovations. We are also keeping an eye on some interesting financial news, coming from Hugo Boss, Walmart and JC Penney. Even Beyoncé deserves the attention of the financial crowd. She has decided to cut ties with the Topshop tycoon. Enjoy the read. Best, Caroline.


Just picture it. Nike is back on 5th avenue, New York, with a 68000 square foot, six-story store called the Nike house of innovation 000 (image gallery). The latest concept is of course designed to please millennials. It is chock full of cool mobile apps such as the instant checkout or shop the look. Mannequins with QR codes are distributed throughout the store. The customers scan the code with their phones and they instantly knows what the mannequin is wearing and in which fitting room the products will be delivered.

Just customize it. Levi Strauss is also opening (paywall) its biggest store in New York in the city's busiest district, Times Square. The 17000 square foot store has been outfitted with a customization bar that has 4 on site tailors and T shirt printing capabilities. The customer just needs to choose pre-loaded logos and designs. Levi's are back in fashion, thanks to Chip Bergh, the CEO who understands how to play the original blue jeans card. The Times square store boasts a time line display and racks full of authentic models.


Make it short. Leaders of the German fashion brand Hugo Boss have just presented their business plan for the next 4 years at an investor day in London. Their strategy rests on (paywall) 2 pillars: personalization and speed. CEO Mark Langer wants to shorten time to market, as he already did with the Hugo collection. The whole process has been cut in half. Sales should grow 5 to 7% annually, thanks to the online boom and the growth potential in Asia. The share of sales in Asia should increase from 15% to 20% in 2022.

Gathering steam. Walmart's third quarter presentation was an occasion to highlight a few key metrics. In the US region, the hypermarket giant posted a 3,4% comp stores sales increase. This time the strength of its new private brands boosted apparel sales. Likewise US e-commerce (+43%) had a strong quarter and, the online subsidiary just added Nike and Bonobos to its rooster. According to Euromonitor, Arch-rival Amazon has still the biggest online market share: 46%. But Walmart (4,3%) is improving.

On the watch list. Ever since Sears filed for bankruptcy, all American eyes are on its competitors. Unfortunately, JC Penney's third quarter results proved disappointing: comparable store sales fell 5,4% and its net loss grew to $151 million. The new CEO Jill Soltau, called to the rescue, is heartened by the positive trends in women's apparel, but she admits that she has an inventory problem. Jill Soltau hails from Jo-Ann, a specialty retailer of crafts and fabrics. Her merchandise skills should help her to make smart choices.


Feminist principles. Beyoncé has cut ties with the Topshop tycoon. The singer has acquired Sir Philip Green's 50% share in Ivy Park. The athletic clothing brand, named after the celebrity's daughter, Blue Ivy, premiered 2 years ago in Topshop stores. Recent sexual harassment allegations were recently leveled against Sir Philip Green and Beyoncé's admirers asked her to draw the red line. The NGO Equality Now declared that the alliance was at odds with her feminist principles.


The Asian connection. The French online platform Vestiaire Collective, reseller of second hand luxury fashion, has appointed a new CEO, Maximilian Bittner. The 39 year old executive was until recently the boss at Lazada, an Asian e-commerce platform that Alibaba bought. Maximilian Bitner will succeed Vestiaire Collective's founder, Sebastian Fabre...who will nevertheless retain an important role in the company. The mission of the new CEO will be to accelerate the development of Vestiaire Collective in Asia.


Give them Marie Antoinette. When even staunch democrats hear the name Queen Marie Antoinette, they become distracted. That's why, 10 pieces owned by the tragic French queen, recently sold at Sotheby's auction in Geneva for a record $42.7 million. A natural pearl and diamond pendant, which was initially estimated at $1-$2 million, went for $36.2 million. Real vintage pieces never disappoint.


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