Welcome to this week-ending edition of The Spin. There's a lot happening in the world of retail. Several big-name stores have reported unsatisfactory results while another in Britain just experienced a bit of a boardroom bloodbath in its latest attempt to turn things around. And Calvin Klein is closing its NYC flagship as part of its restructuring. You'll also read about two fashion entities that could soon be in trouble with the government. Enjoy – and have a wonderful weekend. Best, Christopher


Post-holiday blues. Stocks in US department stores took a pounding yesterday after Macy's reported weaker than expected holiday sales and reduced its sales forecast for fiscal 2018. Macy's stock had its worst day ever on Wall Street and fell nearly 18 percent. In a domino effect, other major retailers – including Target, Kohl's, L Brands, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney – also closed the day down. Target stock fell almost 3 percent despite that store's announcement of a growth in holiday sales compared to 2017.

Slowdown at Fast. Macy's wasn't the only retailer to reveal disappointing results yesterday: Japan's Fast Retailing Co Ltd, the parent of Uniqlo, said its Q1 operating profit was down 8 percent compared to the year before and that operating profit at its Uniqlo stores in Japan fell 30 percent. It blamed the drop on warm weather reducing consumer demand for winter items and jackets.


Debenhams drama. The chairman and CEO of beleaguered British department store Debenhams were voted off the board of directors yesterday at the company's annual general meeting. The former, Sir Ian Cheshire, resigned from the company completely while the latter, Sergio Bucher, will stay on as CEO and report to the board. Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, which owns about a 30 percent stake in the chain, voted for their removal together with Milestone Resources, which holds a 7 percent stake. Sports Direct acquired House of Fraser in August and is calling for a closer cooperation between the two struggling stores.


CK2? Yesterday Steve Shiffman, the CEO of Calvin Klein, announced major forthcoming business changes for the brand, which recently dropped Raf Simons as chief creative officer after the CEO of parent company PVH expressed his displeasure with the label. The restructuring, which will cost about $120 million, includes the closing of the brand's flagship on Madison Avenue this spring and a relaunch/renaming of the 205W39NYC collection under a completely new design direction. The company will also be consolidating its separate Sportswear and Jeans divisions.

Big Apple branding. IMG, the producer of New York Fashion Week, says that this season's event (running February 6 to 13) will feature a total of 67 participating shows, including ones by returning brands such as Anna Sui and Badgley Mischka. There are also several newcomers scheduled to show including Harlem's Fashion Row and luxury e-tailer 11 Honoré.


Dutch treat? The European Commission has launched an investigation into whether Nike has received illegal tax breaks from the Netherlands that gave it and its Converse brand an unfair advantage over its competition in Europe. The alleged underpayments go as far back as 2006 and are said to be in the billions. Nike says the claims are "without merit."

Price fixing? French online retailer has been accused (paywall) by the antitrust group DGCCRF of artificially inflating the listed original prices on its website to deceive consumers into thinking that they were getting a bigger discount than they actually were. The group has filed an official complaint (in French) with the French courts, who will rule on the matter later. If found guilty, the site will face extensive fines.

Caring consumers. Two newly released studies reveal that the issues of sustainability and fair wages do in fact matter to most fashion consumers. The first (press release) says that out of 1,000 US consumers polled, more than two-thirds (and especially Gen Z respondents) consider sustainability when buying products and are willing to pay more for sustainable items. The other says that most Britons would pay more if they knew that the factory workers were making fair salaries.


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