Welcome back to The Spin! HBC chairman Richard Baker plans to increase his investment in the company to about 70 percent, Nike just got sued by a small sports company, and a ridiculously oversized backpack is on track to become this year's first notorious fashion item to resume the "ugly" trend. Enjoy the read and feel free to share with friends and colleagues! Best, Ulrike


True commitment. Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman of Hudson’s Bay Company, plans to acquire (press release) an additional 10 percent in the Canadian retail group through his Rupert of the Rhine LLC. The entity agreed to buy (paywall) 18 million common shares at C$9.45 per share from Ontario’s Teachers’ Pension Plan in a deal valued at about C$170 million. The stock last traded at C$7.35. Following the closing, which is expected within six month, Baker and his partners will control roughly 70 percent of HBC.


Sweating it out. Norristown-based Lontex Corporation is suing US sports giant Nike in Pennsylvania federal court for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The compression wear specialist claims (paywall), that Nike has been using its signature branding term “cool compression” without permission since 2015. According to Lontex, it has been applying the description to its own athletic wear since 2007 and registered it in 2008.

Bizarre back pack. The trend towards ugly fashion items continues in 2019 with the proliferation of enormously large backpacks, that retail at about $234 and could easily fit a small human. Currently sold out at Japanese vendor Plywood, the 1.6kg monstrosities by fashion company CWF should soon be restocked to satisfy growing demand both in Japan and abroad.


To kill a counterfeiter. Amazon is pushing its two-year-old Transparency item-level tracing service to include more brands. Participating companies receive unique Data Matrix 2D barcodes for each item they intend to sell in any of their various distribution channels. Products arriving at Amazon warehouses without such codes will be investigated and in most cases rejected and destroyed, possibly even when they are legitimate. Vendors trying to use the program to cut out resellers risk substantial penalties.


Fighting for the crown jewel. Neiman Marcus and bond holder Marble Ridge are slapping each other with lawsuits. In December, Marble Ridge alleged (press release) that Neiman Marcus fraudulently transferred about $1 billion worth of assets by shifting the MyTheresa business to the company’s private equity owners. Neiman Marcus countersued for damages due to “false public statements”. Now, Marble Ridge filed a new motion to dismiss that counterclaim. To be continued...

Heroic move. US sports chain Foot Locker has taken a $3 million minority stake in an innovative children’s footwear, clothing and accessories online retail start-up founded in 2016 by two former Nike executives, Jason Mayden and Sisodia Harshal. California-based Super Heroic aims to inspire children to be more active through play. As part of the deal, Foot Locker will advise (press release) Super Heroic on growth initiatives. Kids Foot Locker is going to be the first US retailer to offer Super Heroic products in physical stores.


Mourning Joe Casely-Hayford. Known for his sculptured tailoring and use of African influences, the London-based designer of Ghanaian decent made his name in the 80s and has been a long-time favorite of rock bands and musicians including The Clash and Lou Reed. Following a three-year battle with cancer he passed on January 3 at age 62, just months after opening the first brand store on London's Chiltern Street.


Blazing saddles. No, he did not make a personal delivery - it seemed more like a rugged Bianca Jagger moment, when Jeff Bezos rode a horse into Kemo Sabe’s namesake cowboy-apparel store in Colorado’s swanky ski-resort, Aspen. Celebrating in Western style, the Amazon founder, Chairman and CEO rung in the new year with brother Mark Bezos, who also did a few rounds in the saddle.


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