Welcome to this Monday edition of The Spin. At this start of Black Friday week, retail continues to top the news. One struggling chain has ditched its CEO, another is still exploring ways to stay afloat and a new business school has launched to teach the trade to the next generation. In addition, two big US store names have been charged with racist business practices (which can't be good for business). Wishing you an informative and enjoyable read and a Happy Monday.... Best, Christopher


Adieu to Crew. J. Crew, which has been trying to revive its popularity and sales performance for three years, has lost the man who was to lead its turnaround. It announced on Saturday that its CEO, Jim Brett, who took on that role a mere 15 months ago, was leaving effective immediately despite the fact that its numbers have made a slight improvement of late. The board allegedly ousted him and four senior executives will replace him and share CEO responsibilities. In addition, the brand's CMO, Vanessa Holden, who has held that role for just 16 months and spearheaded the recent "New Crew" relaunch has just exited as well, a clear sign that things are still shaky there.


Sears saga continues. Bankrupt US retailer Sears is continuing to generate business headlines. Late last week the bankruptcy court approved its plan to sell its most successful remaining stores to avoid full-on liquidation, an idea that was opposed by many of its creditors. Sears chairman Edward Lampert is expected to bid on the properties via his hedge fund ESL Investments. The cash-strapped chain also petitioned the court on Thursday to allow it to pay up to $19 million in executive bonuses per quarter. The court will decide on that next month.

Readin', 'ritin' and retailin'. Montreal's McGill University officially opened a new school devoted to retail on Friday. Named after Aldo footwear founder Aldo Bensadoun, who contributed $25 million to found it, the Bensadoun School of Retail Management already has 30 students enrolled and aims to be one of the best schools to study retail management internationally. An additional $7.5 million in donations came from other retailers from both Canada and abroad.

Star stores. The 23rd annual Mapic Awards, which honor excellence in the retail real estate industry, were announced in Cannes on Friday at the conclusion of the annual Mapic trade show. The very international complete list of winners in 14 categories can be seen here but key honorees included Uniqlo for Best Retail Global Expansion, China's Suzhou Center Mall as Best New Shopping Center and Galeries Lafayette as Retailer of the Year. A special jury and a vote by show attendees determined the winners.


Righting racism.... To end an investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General for racially profiling customers in four of its stores in that state, department store Lord & Taylor has agreed to pay $100,000 to local programs that fight racism, perform a thorough review of its anti-shoplifting initiatives and procedures and train its staff about the issue. The complaint arose when it was discovered that the stores were targeting far more black and Hispanic customers than white ones in its efforts to crack down on customer theft.

...or maybe not. Target is another famous retailer that is (again) being charged with racism. Residents and local politicians held a demonstration last week protesting the announced closure of two stores in Chicago's South Side and plan to hold another one on Black Friday. They say Target has purposely "ghettoized" the two locations in the predominantly African-American neighborhood by keeping store shelves empty and making the spots unappealing places to shop. Adding fuel to the fire, one media outlet discovered that despite saying it promotes workplace diversity, just one of Target's current 53 top executives is black.


Back to b-ball. Converse, which is currently celebrating its 110th anniversary, is returning to its basketball roots thanks to a just announced endorsement deal with star 22-year-old player Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Washington Wizards. The multi-year agreement is a pioneering one and the first of its kind for an NBA player. Oubre will continue to wear shoes by Converse's parent company Nike while on court but Converse footwear and apparel when he is not playing. His previous contract with Adidas ended last month.

Denver adores Dior. The first comprehensive exhibition about the house of Dior ever launched in the United States opens to the public at the Denver Art Museum today and runs through March 3. The show, called "Dior: From Paris to the World" covers the brand's more than 70 years of history and includes 202 works by Dior himself and the six designers who succeeded him in heading the luxury label. Its curator, Florence Müller, co-created the acclaimed Dior retrospective that ran in Paris last year.


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