Welcome back to The Spin! Europe’s retail meltdown continues with thousands of job losses in Germany and the UK. Over in the US, Amazon has sparked criticism for its Vine review program. We also tell you, which sports brand is going to make the spacesuits for Virgin Galactic. Enjoy the read and feel free to share with friends and colleagues! Best, Ulrike


Crisis mode. Following a weak Christmas season, European retailers have initiated drastic cost cutting measures. As German fashion retailer Gerry Weber International began (paywall; in German) insolvency proceedings, department store chain Galeria Kaufhof announced (paywall; in German) about 2,600 job cuts. Over in the UK, Tesco made headlines with the possible elimination of 15,000 positions.

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And another one... Citing dismal 2018 results, German retail group AWG General Warenvertriebs GmbH has filed (paywall; in German) for insolvency proceedings in self-administration. Under its restructuring, the business (in German) of its 300 stores will continue without restrictions, with the compensation of approximately 2,900 employees secured until the end of April.


Through the Vine. In 2007, Amazon created the controversial (paywall) Vine review program to generate awareness for new products by connecting them with reviewers. Described as “the voice of the Amazon community”, these Viners receive a battalion of free items and create a good amount of the reviews seen on the site. For vendors, participation in Vine is usually negotiated as part of their contracts. Since review items count as income, most Vine reviewers now have to provide tax information, prompting many to donate items, especially clothing, which often arrives in “random” sizes.


The voyage home. Due to new regulations regarding luxury items purchased abroad, Chinese tourists have curbed their spending during vacations, focusing on items not available in their home country during trips overseas. As a result, some of their spending has shifted to domestic consumption, which is currently being promoted by the Chinese government. Burberry is one of the Western companies to record (press release) sales increases in China during Q3


The final frontier. Under Armour has signed a partnership with spaceflight company Virgin Galactic to produce spacesuits and footwear for passengers who will be the first non-astronauts to travel into space. Richard Branson's company will charge $250,000 for the first six travelers, which includes the cost of the Under Armour gear. The collection is expected to launch in late 2019. No word on the status on Virgin’s apparel deal with Adidas’ Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto brand.


Last contact. After 28 years with Neiman Marcus, president and chief merchandising officer Jim Gold has decided to leave the Dallas-based luxury retailer. The announcement comes just weeks before the scheduled opening (press release) of the very first Neiman Marcus store in New York City. A successor for Gold has not yet been named.

New order. Californian lifestyle brand Guess has named (paywall) Carlos Albertini its new CEO. He succeeds Victor Herrero, who will step down on Februrary 2. Paul Marciano, who resigned (SEC filing) from the executive chairman position last year amidst accusations of sexual harassment, remains chief creative officer. Albertini’s already been with Guess as president and COO from 2000 and 2010, before he joined Restauration Hardware as Co-CEO and then moved to Lucky Brand as chairman and CEO in 2014.


Post-White House plan? Although Ivanka Trump shut down her fashion line last July, the First Daughter has secured new trademarks in China for products including wedding dresses and sunglasses. Some suspect Trump’s renewed activity in the market could be her “post-White House” plan. Given her controversial status in the US, Trump might aim her new efforts at China, where fans call her a Goddess.


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