Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Spin! As the retail carnage continues with additional closures and bankruptcies, men’s fashion month is getting into high gear with Pitti Uomo in Florence. Over in the US, Amazon just started a pilot project sending customers unrequested product samples. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


A man's world. London Fashion Week: Men’s kicked off the menswear buying season with a first, albeit unspectacular preview of what’s on offer for fall 2019. The collections featured punk and goth themes, bold patterns and performance wear. Additional focus was on London street style with large puffer jackets, oversized suits and bucket hats standing out. Meanwhile, Pitti Uomo in Florence started strong with special guest Glenn Martens from Y/Project.


See me, feel me - buy me. US online giant Amazon allows brands to send its customers free product samples. Participants in the Prime Samples pilot project, which utilizes Amazon’s customer purchasing data and logistics infrastructure, include Maybelline cosmetics and Folgers Coffee. Experts expect this program to be more effective than display ads, which currently contribute the majority to Amazon's roughly $4.5 billion in ad revenue.

And another three... Following declining (press release) holiday sales, J.C. Penney announced the closure of three additional stores this spring. The measure is said to be part of an ongoing evaluation of the Plano, Texas-based retailer’s store portfolio, which could see up to 50 more closings this year. More information will be released with the Q4 earnings report on February 28.

One step behind. Due to difficult market conditions, German footwear retailer Schuhpark Fascies has filed (paywall; in German) for insolvency in self-administration. With the assistance of restructuring expert BBL Bernsau Brockdorff, the chain takes advantage of new legal options that allow cash-strapped companies the development and implementation of short-term measures to reorganize. During the restructuring, operations of its 89 stores and web shop remain (in German) unchanged.


Hamburg calling. Austrian Signa Group is buying Hamburg’s Gänsemarktpassage from Munich-based investor Meag for about (in German) €110 million. Signa plans to redevelop (paywall; in German) the 15,000 sqm space, which currently houses 22 stores, into a mixed use property with shops, offices and apartments. Founded in 1999 by René Benko, Signa Group holds real estate assets valued at over €14 billion as well as German department store chains Karstadt, Kaufhof and KaDeWe.


New date for Dior. To avoid the violent yellow vest protests in Paris, French luxury label Dior has switched its catwalk date from Saturday, Januar 19, to Friday the 18th. The protests usually take place over the weekends. Dior's Paris flagship store, for example, has been vandalized by protesters on Saturday, November 24, with over €1.11 million worth of goods stolen.


From Bulgari to Calvin Klein. As part of converting Calvin Klein Inc into a consumer-centric company, Steven Waldberg was named EVP consumer engagement, a newly created position. Waldberg joins the New York-based design house from Bulgari, where he served as senior director of global communications. He reports to CMO Marie Gulin-Merle, with who he worked at L’Oreal in the past.

Out of Appelrath. After eleven years at the helm, Frank Rheinboldt is going to leave (paywall; in German) Cologne-based womenswear store chain AppelrathCüpper, which is owned by British private equity firm OpCapita. Until a successor is found, Rheinbold is continuing in the CEO position.


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