Welcome back to The Spin! In the US, online sales have just surpassed in-store sales for general merchandise. To keep its own sales momentum going, Foot Locker has started a new incubator program. And then there is a popular Netflix show, that sparked an entire new lifestyle movement. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


New milestone. In February, for the first time in history, non-store shopping including eCommerce surpassed in-store spending for general merchandise in the US. Both categories reached just over 11.8 percent of total expenditures, which unexpectedly dropped by 0.2 percent, as consumers reduced purchases of furniture and apparel. The majority of sales is contributed by motor vehicles, supermarkets and restaurants.


More than a sneaker. To build new brands, US sports chain Foot Locker has created the Greenhouse incubator initiative. With nine different programs called franchises, Greenhouse is designed to expand the retailer’s relationships with emerging labels and new vendors to grow in categories like women’s apparel.

Bright spot. Although the merger between HBC Europe and Karstadt was costly (paywall; translated by Google), Canadian retail group HBC narrowed its net loss form $581 in 2017 to $542 in 2018. Thanks to a strong performance of its Saks Fifth Avenue division, revenues remained at CA$9.4 billion, with comparable sales dropping (press release) 0.2 percent. The total number of stores declined from 483 to 342 during the year.

The Terminator. As a result of the merger of Signa-owned department store chain Karstadt and HBC-owned Galeria Kaufhof, Karstadt Sport’s strategic partnership with German sports buying group Intersport has been terminated (paywall; translated by Google), effective June 30. It lasted only 18 months. In the future, Intersport plans to focus on its full-fledged members.


A Swedish tech story. As part of a larger technology push, Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M has launched (paywall) a digital fashion advice forum where members can discuss style questions. For the German market, H&M Lab Deutschland has developed (paywall, translated by Google) the first in-store cafe, which will debut at the H&M flagship in Heidelberg. A test for bespoke tailoring is to follow in late April.


Madewell's mistress. J.Crew’s jeans wear label Madewell has promoted brand president Libby Wadle to CEO, a newly created position. The fast growing division, which was launched in 2006, has reached almost $530 million in revenue in 2018. Following James Brett’s departure in November, the J.Crew Group itself remains without a CEO.


Elevating the Croc. Thanks to its young, social media savvy fanbase, US clogs brand Crocs is successfully walking the fine line between cool and uncool. To keep the current momentum with Gen-Z going, the brand is increasingly relying on user-generated content while it continues to engage with the gardener.


Coming clean. Marie Kondo’s popular Netflix show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" has sparked increasing interest in storage and organization products in the US. Sales of stackable file drawers, for example, rose 17 percent year-over-year last January. The Container Store is now creating content and marketing materials centered around the lifestyle guru’s KonMari cleanout strategy.


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