Here's a new TGIF edition of The Spin. Bernard Arnault has apparently told Rihanna: You da one – and created a new business deal that currently has tongues wagging. Fashion took center stage in Berlin again this week and Primark has gone against the tide and reported good sales over the holidays. (Isn't it nice to hear some positive retail news out of the UK for once?) Before I wish you a great weekend please note we won't be publishing on Monday due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday here in the US. But we'll be'll be back on Tuesday with a fresh batch of must-know fashion news. Enjoy! Best, Christopher


Talk that talk. An unofficially confirmed report (paywall) says Rihanna and LVMH are working together to launch a new luxury label under her name. The new brand is said to include apparel, leather goods and accessories and would be the first one the luxury conglomerate has created from the ground up since it started Christian Lacroix in 1987. As neither LVMH nor Rihanna would comment, the name of the rumored house and its launch date are still unknown.



Busy in Berlin. The latest edition of Berlin Fashion Week officially concludes tonight and once again the five-day event in the German capital included numerous trade shows (news ticker; in German) including the debut of the eco-minded fair Neonyt (paywall), special events and catwalk and showroom presentations. Trendwise there was a return to '80s and '90s looks (video) and chunky sneakers continued to dominate in the street.


Primark's merry Xmas. Primark said yesterday that sales at its established stores in the UK rose 3 percent during the holiday period, a true exception to the bleak Christmas performances of most of its high street brethren. The discount chain, which does not have a web shop, added that sales in the US, a market it entered in 2015, continue to be strong and that it wants to open more doors there. The company had previously issued a warning citing "challenging sales" but managed to exceed expectations.

Educational investment. Sneaker chain Foot Locker has just invested $2 million in Portland-based Pensole Inc., which operates the Pensole Footwear Design Academy, a school for up-and-coming shoe creatives. Foot Locker and Pensole will work together to create new classes and programs that will generate exclusive (press release) merchandise for all of Foot Locker's brands. The academy graduated its first class in 2010 and now has about 400 alumni working in the industry.

Goodbye, Gymboree. After filing for bankruptcy for the second time in two years, US childrenswear chain Gymboree is liquidating. The 43-year-old chain, which is in the red by about $212 million, will close all of its 800+ Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores in the US and Canada by April. It is currently seeking bids for its higher-end third brand, Janie and Jack, which has 140 stores in North America.


Time to buy. Fossil Group has sold some of its smartwatch technology and its related R&D team to Google for $40 million. The acquired innovation is still being developed but will eventually result in the launch of a new product according to Fossil Group. Fossil smartwatches – the group's fastest growing product category – run on Google OS software and directly compete with the more popular Apple Watch.

Appealing app. Luxury brands from Chanel to Dior have started advertising on Douyin, a video app that is extremely popular with China's young social media set. The app boasts more than 500 million active monthly users, most of whom are female. The so-called international version of Douyin called TikTok – they are actually two totally separate entities – has also found great success in markets outside of China.


Arne's ascension. Puma has promoted its head of global retail and e-commerce, Arne Freudt, to the role of regional GM Europe and EEMEA effective immediately. Freudt has been with Puma since 2011 and will oversee both regions. He replaces (press release) longtime Puma veteran Martyn Bowen who is leaving the company to pursue new interests.


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