Jan
 15
 2019



Christopher

Hello,

Welcome to today's edition of The Spin. News from China spooked the luxury sector yesterday but one new survey says there's no need to panic. Garment workers in Bangladesh, many of whom make less than $100 a month, are back in the factories after several days of wage protests. And Lululemon looks like it may be on its way to become as big as, say, Puma, which has just announced an interesting new sports sponsorship. Enjoy the read and have a terrific Tuesday. Best, Christopher



markets

Asian anxiety. European stock markets fell yesterday after hearing that Chinese imports were down 7.6 percent in December (compared to December 2017) although they were projected to rise by 5 percent. In addition, the country's exports dropped 4.4 percent despite expectations of 3 percent growth. The news hit technology and luxury names the hardest: LVMH, Kering, Hermès and Moncler all experienced declines. Despite the disheartening data, a new study reveals that almost half of Chinese consumers actually plan to spend more on luxury goods this year than last. China accounts for about one-third of all luxury sales worldwide.


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Back to normal? Striking ready-made garment (RMG) workers in Bangladesh were ordered back to work yesterday after factory owners agreed to a pay raise that was hammered out on Sunday with union leaders and government officials. While this was supposed to be the end of this violent and deadly labor unrest that began on January 6, several thousand people continued to protest on Monday morning – claiming the hike was not sufficient – but were dispersed by police. The government has vowed to resolve any remaining salary inconsistencies within one month.





brands

Gabriela's (capital) gain. LVMH Luxury Ventures, a division of LVMH, has taken minority investment (paywall) in womenswear designer Gabriela Hearst, who launched her eponymous label in 2015. The terms of the deal were not released but the influx of cash – anywhere from €2 million to €15 million – will be used to grow Hearst's luxury, sustainable brand. Since launching in 2017, LVMH Luxury Ventures has taken minority stakes in two other companies, beauty line L'Officine Universelle Buly and sneaker store Stadium Goods.



Embracing esports. Puma's newest team partnership has brought it into a new category, competitive gaming aka esports. The German athletic giant will be the official apparel and shoe supplier of esports organization Cloud9 and the official partner of its League of Legends Championship Series team, who will wear the Puma logo on its jerseys. The deal is currently set to last only through the spring 2019 season but both sides say they are open to extending it. The agreement is the largest esports one ever and follows ones by Champion and K-Swiss, who both announced tie-ups with esports groups last year.



In good shape. It was not a Blue Monday for Lululemon. Stock in the athletic brand rose dramatically yesterday after it announced that it had the best holiday season in six years and would therefore raise its Q4 outlook for both revenues and earnings. The stock closed at nearly $140 per share and one analyst predicts it will surpass $200 in just a few more years.





people

Penney people. J.C. Penney's new CEO, Jill Soltau, has appointed two new executives as she attempts to turn the tide at the troubled US retailer. Mike Robbins, who has been with the store since 2015, is the new chief officer of stores and supply chain while Truett Horne has taken on the newly created role of chief transformation officer. Soltau said she is still interviewing people for the jobs of chief merchant, CFO, chief customer service officer, SVP of planning and allocation and principal accounting officer.



Goodman guy. Matt Marcotte, a former EVP and head of global direct-to-consumer sales at Tory Burch, has been hired (paywall) as the COO, a newly created position, at posh New York department store Bergdorf Goodman. He is also a veteran of Apple, so his appointment is said to be further evidence that Bergdorf's will be emphasizing its digital business.



Krueger at Kontoor. VF Corp announced yesterday that Laurel Kreuger has been named vice president and general counsel at Kontoor Brands, its soon-to-be spun off denim division, effective immediately. She will serve on the company's executive board and previously was an in-house attorney at VF Corp, which is set to release its Q3 earnings on Friday.





tech

Supersmart soles. A star of last week's annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the French company Zhor-Tech, which specializes in high-tech, electronically enhanced footwear. Among its amazing offerings are shoes that analyze the wearer's gait, which if irregular could be a sign of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. Another set of its insoles measures fatigue levels and can alert others if the wearer slips and falls.







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