Happy Monday and welcome back to The Spin! Following the closures of Lord & Taylor, Henri Bendel and Saks Downtown, Manhattan's retail scene is heating up again with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom preparing to enter the market. Over in Germany, rumors about a possible takeover by Alibaba have lifted Zalando's stock price. We also tell you, which late American designer is the subject of a new movie. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Clash of the titans. A slew of department store closings - and openings - highlight New York's intensifying battle for consumer dollars. As the flagship stores of Henri Bendel and Lord & Taylor and the Saks Fifth Avenue Downtown location at Brookfield Place are shutting their doors, rival luxury department stores Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are about to enter the city that has been dominated by Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's and Bloomingdales for decades.

Rumor has it. Recurring rumors about a planned takeover of Zalando by Chinese online giant Alibaba have boosted (paywall; in German) the German fashion platform’s stock, sending it up almost 15 percent last week. According to Marcel Münch, founder of the start-up DONGXii, which specializes in trade between Germany and China, Zalando would perfectly fit (in German) for Alibaba’s expansion plans in Europe.


Inception. To support of its rapid expansion (paywall), lifestyle discounter Five Below has been ramping up in-store technologies in 750 locations. In addition to streamlining product discovery and checkout experiences, the tech initiative includes (press release) a new in-store platform to free store associates from back-office tasks and help increase their focus on consumer engagement.

Troubling terms. PopSugar’s celebrity lookalike tool #Twinning is gaining unwanted attention for its terms of service. By uploading a photo to match up with celebrities, users grant PopSugar a global, royalty free, irrevocable and sub-licensable right to fully exploit the images, thus legally permitting the site to modify, use and sell them. Using influencer-created content and images already got the company in hot water this summer. That class-action lawsuit is still pending…


Movin' on up! US bargain search engine RetailMeNot Inc has promoted (press release) CMO Marissa Tarleton to CEO, effective January 7. Tarleton is taking over from company founder Cotter Cunningham, who becomes chairman. Cunningham also plans to work on emerging technology ventures for RetailMeNot’s holding company, MacAndrews & Forbes. Tarleton joined the firm in 2015 from Dell and has previously worked for several advertising agencies including Ogilvy & Mather.

Simply Halston. A new mini-series highlights the rise and fall of Roy Halston Frowick, following the American designer's path from his first fashion shows and visits at Studio 54 in the 1970s through his '80s expansion, the loss of the rights to his name, and his death in 1990 at age 57, due to Aids-related complications. Directed by Dan Minahan, Simply Halston stars Ewan McGregor in the title role. A release date has not yet been set.


All-inclusive. As the industry gears up for a new round of international fashion shows, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) pledges for more diversity and inclusivity, planning to implement more paths for all people – regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more.


Big in Japan. After a Japanese monk was fined for driving dressed in a kimono “because it could affect safe driving”, countless monks turned to the internet to prove how agile they are wearing their robes. Under a hashtag that translates into “I can do this in a monk’s robe”, the holy men present themselves on the Internet juggling, jumping rope, and skateboarding - so far without incidence…


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