Welcome back to The Spin! The holidays brought us increased retail sales, wild swings in the stock markets, and the shocking announcement of Raf Simons' imminent departure from Calvin Klein. In addition, several new investment activities already give a taste for what 2019 might have in store for our industry. Enjoy the read and feel free to share!


Raf Simons is out at Calvin Klein. The announcement was made on the evening of December 21st, just before the Christmas holidays, sending shock waves through the industry. PVH invested (paywall) about $70 million in Simon's revamp of its luxury collection, which was renamed 205W39NYC in the process, just to see it fail at retail. Now marked for a massive restructuring, the label will not show at the upcoming New York Fashion Week. As for Simons, he is likely going to focus on his menswear line.


Expansion course. Acne Studios sold a minority stake to two separate Asian investors. Beijing-based IDG Capital, which has investments in more than 750 companies including Farfetch and Moncler, is acquiring 30.1 percent of the Swedish fashion label, while Hong Kong’s I.T. Group takes over a 10.9 percent stake. The funds will be used to expand both online and brick-and-mortar retail. Company founders Mikael Schiller and Jonny Johansson will retain the majority, with Schiller scheduled (paywall) to leave the company in a few years.

Chasing copycats. VF-owned skate label Vans is suing Irish fast fashion retailer Primark. According to the lawsuit, Primark has been copying Vans’ Old Skool and Sk8-Hi designs since mid-2017. Primark disputes the allegations and plans to defend its position. A similar case was also brought against Target, whose customers praise the US retailer's fake Vans in its review section.


Athletic advancement. Signa Sports United has launched (paywall; in German) a strategic partnership with Aeon and Central Group. As part of the deal, the two Asian retail giants have acquired a minority stake in the German eCommerce platform. The resulting revenues are earmarked to fund the platform's global expansion. Long-term plans include the development of an online platform for sporting goods in Asia.


Happy Holidays. US eCommerce giant Amazon sold (press release) a record number of items over the holidays, with more than one billion delivered via its Prime service. Top selling apparel brands include Carhartt, Calvin Klein, Champion and UGG as well as Amazon’s Essentials, Daily Ritual and Goodthreads labels. The top trend was athleisurewear. The rise in eCommerce also lifted US logistics services like UPS and FedEx as well as credit card companies.


Confident consumers. Overall, US holiday retail sales (Nov 1 to Dec 24) rose 5.1 percent to over $850 billion, marking (paywall) the largest increase since 2012. According to preliminary data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, the strongest categories include (press release) apparel (7.9 percent) and home improvement (9 percent), while department stores recorded a 1.3 percent decline.

Reluctant retailers. British retailers axed about 150,000 jobs in 2018, with additional job cuts on the horizon. More than 30,000 UK retailers are considered to be in significant financial distress. Both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are affected, proving that eCommerce is no longer immune to market corrections.


Mourning Faith Hope Consolo. The chairman of The Retail Group at Douglas Elliman Real Estate died Sunday morning in her Manhattan home. Dubbed the Queen of Retail, the executive was a driving force in New York’s commercial real estate market and often contributed valuable insight to the editors at TextilWirtschaft and The Spin. Faith Hope Consolo was 69 years old.


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