Happy New Year, and welcome back to The Spin! Business continued pretty much as usual over the turn of the year, with Michael Kors finalizing the Versace takeover, several personell changes, and the opening of yet another chapter in the ongoing Sears saga. Enjoy the read - and your week! Ulrike


The Great Challenge. Following a slew of bankruptcies in 2018, US retailers cautiously head into the new year. While discounters and sports chains like Walmart, Target, T.J. Maxx and Lululemon continue their winning streak, department stores are struggling more than ever. Loaded with debt and challenged by the proliferation of eCommerce and brand stores, companies like Neiman Marcus (paywall) and J.C. Penney need to push their in-store and online experiences this year.

The saga continues. On Friday, Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a last minute $4.4 billion bid for 425 Sears stores through an affiliate of his ESL investments, Transform Holdco. Simultaneously, the bankrupt retail group, which holds Sears and Kmart, announced the closure of 80 additional stores as well as five Sears Auto Centers and one distribution center.​ Liquidation is now less likely, but Sears' advisors still have until January 4 to decide if ESL is a qualified bidder.


Reverse offensive. As part of its planned restructuring towards a more consumer-centric business model, Chinese eCommerce giant JD has cancelled (in German) plans to open an office in Germany this year. The news come just days after the company’s CEO Richard Liu has been cleared of rape charges. Last July, Liu had announced massive expansion plans for Germany.


Smells like forgery. 25 years after he presented his first Grunge-inspired fashion collection, Marc Jacobs has been slapped with a lawsuit by Nirvana LLC for infringing on the Grunge band’s copyright and implying that the designer’s Redux Grunge line is being endorsed by Nirvana. The point of contention is Nivana’s Smiley Face logo, which was created in 1991 and has been reproduced with different wording on a Marc Jacobs’ tops and socks. In addition to Marc Jacobs International, luxury retailers including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are also being sued.

Respect Your Universe. Vancouver-based performance label RYU, which recently opened its first US stores in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, is planning to expand its assortment. Next year, new categories like women’s lingerie and men’s underwear are going to be introduced, with the addition of training shoes scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. The Canadian label is also working on a bigger selection of handbags and accessories.

Mission accomplished. As announced in September, Michael Kors Holdings completed (paywall) the acquisition of Italian fashion house Versace on December 31. The transaction is valued at about $1.2 billion. With the addition of Versace, the company, which also holds the Jimmy Choo brand, plans to increase revenues to $8 billion. As part of the expansion of its portfolio, Michael Kors Holdings is being renamed Capri Holdings (CPRI) as of today.


Enough said. Birgit Adels, CEO of Liebeskind Berlin, is leaving (paywall; in German) the fashion label after just seven months, due to different views on strategic direction. The 52-year-old has over 20 years of experience in the fashion, music and media industries. For now, her responsibilities will be assumed by a team of Liebeskind managers who report to Bernd Freier, founder and CEO (in German) of the brand’s holding, S.Oliver Group.

We are family. Two former Vogue US employees are disrupting eCommerce with their family-friendly lifestyle e-tailer, Maisonette. Founded in 2017 by Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza de Roccia, the digital marketplace for kids’ products puts family first and allows employees to bring their kids to work. Last August, the pair added a the LeScoop blog with useful info for young parents.


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