Welcome to this year's final issue of The Spin! A turbulent 2018 is coming to an end with a final round of store closures, several new investments and countless reviews of this year's trends and scandals. There are also first previews of what 2019 might bring. One thing is for sure: Our industry will remain exciting. Wishing you a happy, successful and prosperous New Year, and see you again on January 2! Ulrike


New streams for Amazon. The US online giant is known for pushing its boundaries with deals and projects including this year’s acquisition of WholeFoods, its plans for new headquarters in Virginia and New York, the raise of US hourly wages, and its recent foray into blockchain. Experts expect Amazon to keep up the pace in 2019, predicting new acquisitions like fashion retailers with a "clean" store base, gas stations and travel services.


Last Minute Man. Today is the deadline for offers to buy bankrupt Sears Holdings Corporation out of bankruptcy. Without a deal, liquidators will break up the company. Chairman Edward Lampert’s ESL Investment fund has been the only bidder for the whole entity, but by last night he had not yet submitted a bid. Should he come through, advisers would have until January 4 to accept for ESL to participate in an auction against liquidation bids on January 14.

Flight from Fifth. Versace and Gap are the latest high-profile fashion retailers to abandon their pricy Fifth Avenue locations. Versace is looking to sublease the multi-level townhouse at 51st Street, which housed its New York flagship for years. Three blocks further North, Gap is giving up its three-story former flagship, following the lead of Ralph Lauren’s Polo store, Henri Bendel, and Lord & Taylor, which will vacate its legendary flagship at 38th Street to make room for WeWork’s new headquarters.


Rent control. New York’s retail rents have been coming down from the high in 2015, when the top ten retail leases totaled $150 million compared to this year's $62 million. Recent deals include Puma’s $8.9 million lease for its 24,000 square foot location at 609 Fifth Avenue, the former home of American Girl. The most expensive lease went to McDonald’s, which pays $11.5 million per year for its new home at Times Square.

Awakenings. For 2019, McKinsey & Company forecasts a slowdown of retail growth to about 4 percent, a paradigm shift between consumers and companies, and a tipping point as China overtakes the US as the world’s largest fashion market. In its report The State of Fashion 2019: A Year of Awakening, McKinsey predicts external shocks to the markets and further polarization due to the continued ascend of 20 “super winners” including Inditex (in Spanish), Nike and LVMH.


Taking Trussardi. Embattled Italian fashion company Trussardi is said to be finalizing the sale of a majority stake of up to 80 percent to Italian investment company Quattro R. The deal is said to be valued at $57 million. The company is held by the Trussardi family’s Finos holding. Gaia Trussardi, who relinquished her position as creative director last April, is rumored to be the one to give up her stake. Her brother Tomaso and Mother Maria Luisa Gavazzeni are said to retain (in Italian) the remaining stake.

Trend of the trends. No year-end issue without a look back at trends, scandals (paywall), controversies and ad campaigns. In addition to last year's obvious ones - think chunky sneakers, Melania Trump’s “I really don’t care - do you?” jacket, and countless accusations of sexual harassment -, there was Prada’s Blackface backlash, H&M's "Monkey" business, and much, much more…


Repeat offender. Following last year’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Bruce Weber, five additional male models are now accusing the fashion photographer of sexual misconduct, molestation and sex trafficking. Due to his influence on all aspects of his high-profile photo shoots, the powerful 71-year-old lensman has long been considered a gatekeeper for the male modeling industry. He strongly denies (paywall) the accusations.


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