Welcome back to The Spin! A lot is happening on the retail scene. Macy’s puts storytelling to a whole new level, REI is going to expand its rental program for sporting goods, and cashless Amazon Go stores will soon accept - cash. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Macy's new colors. With the rollout of 36 Story shops at its stores across the US, Macy’s brings retail storytelling to a new level. Story was founded in 2011 by Rachel Shechtman. Much like a magazine, its 200 m2 store in Manhattan changes its theme and entire assortment about every six weeks. Macy’s, which bought the company last year, also plans (video) to regularly changing themes for its 150 m2 Story shops, starting with “Color” featuring brands like Levi’s, Crayola and MAC Cosmetics.

Sports encore. To increase its appeal with Millennials, who prefer renting rather than owning things, US outdoor gear retailer REI plans to expand its rental program for ski, camping and hiking equipment to 115 of its 154 stores this year. In addition, the Kent-based company will turn its occasional sales of gently used products into a regular feature, both in-store and online.

Requiem for a Dream. Triple Five Group’s long-delayed American Dream (formerly Xanadu) mega mall, which just hired Neiman Marcus’ former fashion director Ken Downing, is still looking for tenants. With attractions like ski slopes, waterpark, Ferris wheel and helicopters to fly in luxe shoppers from Manhattan, the New Jersey-based center intends to lure luxury brands that have never been in malls before, like Mackage, Thom Browne and Amiri, none of which have (yet) committed.


The Break-up. Tired of fighting with algorithms, British cosmetics retailer Lush is bidding farewell to some of its social media channels. Instead, the Poole-based company plans to communicate directly with its customers via live chat, email and even the phone. Lush, which wants to be more about passion and less about likes, made the announcement on Instagram. The US strategy is not affected.


Numbers games. Although Asos recorded an 87 percent drop in earnings, the British online retailer sticks to its full-year guidance, sending its stock back on an upward trajectory. Over in the US, Levi Strauss’ stock jumped on solid earnings, although debt levels remain challenging. Meanwhile, Italy plans a bigger budget deficit as its economy is effectively stagnating.

To cash or not to cash. To protect low-income shoppers (who often don’t have credit or debit cards) from discrimination, Philadelphia and New Jersey have recently passed laws banning cashless stores. In response, Amazon will soon add more payment options at its cashier-less Amazon Go stores - including cash. Additional US cities including Chicago and New York City are already considering similar laws.


Victoria's worries. Due to the deteriorating operating margins at Victoria’s Secret, US ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded L Brands’ outlook form stable to negative. The lingerie brand has been suffering from image problems related to its promotion of unrealistic body images and recently lost market share to more inclusive brands like American Eagle’s Aerie and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line.


Behind Anna's glasses. In a rare interview (video) with Christiane Amanpour, US Vogue's Anna Wintour shares her thoughts on the changing media landscape, hints at what she might wear at next month’s Met Gala, and even reveals why she always hides her eyes behind those large, dark sunglasses. As the magazine industry goes through a hard transformation, Wintour faces a tough year leading up to her 70s birthday on November 3.


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