Welcome back to The Spin! Alibaba dominates today's news with its purchase of a Berlin tech start-up and the development of a resale platform for high-end goods. We also tell you, which US designer is bringing his see-now/buy-now show to Paris Fashion Week, and which British designer has just joined Seven for all mankind as global creative director. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


The eleventh hour. A bankruptcy court now permits Sears chairman Edward Lampert and his ESL Investments hedge fund to bid against liquidators at auction. To do so, ESL has to pay a $120 million deposit by Wednesday. As reported, Lampert offered $4.4 billion for the ailing retailer’s 425 Sears and Kmart stores, which Sears was prepared to reject. Under the new agreement, Sears allows Lampert to participate in an auction on January 14, where ESL’s offer will be compared to others by liquidators. According to experts, it is still unclear if Lampert can secure the funds to back his offer.

A Fish called Idle. Chinese online giant Alibaba has launched a premium channel for brands to run their own online stores for idle assets like samples, seconds, overstock and used merchandise. Dubbed Xianyu, Mandarin for “Idle Fish”, the platform offers brands access to the $20 billion resale market, while consumers get their hands on verified goods. During the pilot phase, Idle Fish will focus on electronic appliances, with categories like apparel to follow soon.


Alibaba buys Berlin start-up. Through its Dutch subsidiary, Alibaba has also acquired (paywall; in German) a 81.76 percent stake in Data Artisans (DA). The transaction is valued at €90 million. The remaining shareholders are 1688 Singapore eCommerce Private Ltd (13 percent) and DA (5.24 percent). DA develops software for large scale data processing via its Apache Flink open-source stream processing framework. In addition to Alibaba (dA blog) current users include Ebay, Zalando, Otto Group and Telefonica as well as Uber.

Tailored demand. Customer-centric algorithms will soon curate most online purchases. Similar to the travel industry’s booking engines, innovative retail choice technologies are able to direct consumers to the best purchase options and even negotiate new terms with manufacturers. Due to their transparency, neutrality and access to an unlimited product pool, retail curators might soon change the structure of the sector and capture a significant share of sales.


Tommy goes to Ville Lumière. Tommy Hilfiger will show his next Tommy Now collection in Paris to coincide with Paris Fashion Week. Developed with actress Zendaya, the Tommy x Zendaya line for Spring 2019 will be immediately available via, social media, Tommy Hilfiger stores and wholesale partners. Zendaya, who previously had her own Daya by Zendaya line, was named Tommy Hilfiger global brand ambassador in October.


Spurr to success. British designer Simon Spurr has been named (press release) global creative director at Los Angeles-based jeans wear label Seven for all mankind. Under Spurr’s creative leadership, the brand, which was bought by Delta Galil in June 2016, aims to grow its collection from jeans wear into lifestyle. The initiative is part of CEO Tim Baxter’s growth initiative that also calls for international expansion, store openings and new licenses.

From Tchibo to Hugo Boss. Jochen Eckhold has been named (paywall; in German) director of global human resources at German fashion company Hugo Boss. The 61-year-old comes to the Metzingen-based firm from Hamburg’s coffee roaster and textile retailer, Tchibo. He follows the example of Yves Müller, who left Tchibo last Mai for the CFO position (press release) at Hugo Boss.


Voguing vegan. Amidst controversy over the sustainability of plastic-based “vegan” apparel, the first ever Vegan Fashion Week is going to take place at the California Market Center, Los Angeles, on the weekend of February 2 and 3. As reported, Los Angeles is one of the US cities that are banning the production and sale of most fur-based products by 2020. The event aims to educate fashion enthusiasts and connect them with vegan brands and designers.


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