Welcome to a new edition of The Spin. There's lots of news in the world of retail today from Barneys new head shop to another probable chain store bankruptcy. Puffer coats are the midst of a serious comeback and the blackface issue has once again reared its ugly head in the world of fashion – this time at Katy Perry's signature brand. Enjoy the read and please share it with colleagues and friends. Best, Christopher


Highbrow high. Next month upscale US specialty store Barneys New York will open a "luxury cannabis and wellness concept shop" on the fifth floor of its Beverly Hills store. Called The High End, the shop-in-shop will feature merchandise such as rolling papers, ashtrays and bongs with luxury price tags. As Barneys is not licensed to dispense legal marijuana in California, the store will only sell pot paraphernalia and not the weed itself.


Fundraiser. Zilingo, a Singapore-based online fashion and beauty startup, just raised an additional $226 million in funding to help it expand into new markets such as Australia this year. The company, which launched in 2015, has now raised $308 million in total and it is starting to change its focus from consumer e-commerce to B2B services in an increasingly digitized supply chain.

Deja vu. According to various reports US discount footwear chain Payless ShoeSource is about declare bankruptcy for the second time since April 2017 and is looking to unload large blocks of its real estate. Payless operates more than 2,700 stores in North America and shuttered 400 of them after its first bankruptcy filing. The store could still dodge the declaration however if it were to be sold to an interested buyer.

Another acquisition. Amazon has purchased yet another company. It announced yesterday that it bought Eero, a home Wi-Fi specialist that guarantees outstanding Wi-Fi coverage throughout every room of one's home. It is Amazon's latest move to corner home smart devices, which can aid in online shopping. The deal's price tag was not disclosed.

Workers' woes. A new survey of 28,000 US retail and food-service workers says that irregular and inconsistent work schedules lead to unhappiness in the workplace. Just 39 percent of respondents who work in retail said they had regular schedules and those that work a closing shift followed immediately by an opening one the next day have an increased chance of sleeplessness.


Passion for puffers. Brands including The North Face and Orolay are reaping the benefits of the return of the puffer coat as a must-have fashion item. The former's Nuptse puffer jacket model, first introduced in 1992, was the second most searched for men's fashion piece (after Nike Air Force 1s) at the end of last year according to Lyst and The North Face's sales grew 16 percent overall in the last quarter thanks in part to the coat's newfound popularity.

Homegrown pride. Pantanjali Paridhan is a recently launched clothing brand in India that is stresses that nation's cultural identity and fashion heritage in its first ad campaign. The colorful film, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, asks consumers to stop focusing on western fashions and rather embrace "desi coolness and swag."

Deja vu Part 2. The Katy Perry Collections shoe brand is the latest one to be embroiled in a blackface controversy. It has pulled two shoe styles with human faces on the upper after some felt that the black version of the shoe looked racist. "If you have to second guess whether a design is blackface/ probably is," noted one critic on Twitter. Perry said that the design was never meant to inflict pain or be offensive.


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