Hello ,

Welcome back to The Spin! Amazon emphasizes its growing position in the Middle East by rebranding its Souq marketplace, Nordstrom plans to bring two merchandise-free stores to New York City, and Jason Wu has found a new owner. Enjoy the read - and your weekend! Best, Ulrike


The Name Game. To emphasize its growing position in the Middle East, Amazon has rebranded its Souq platform and is redirecting Souq visitors to the new URL. Following a two-year growth spurt, Souq has become a serious force throughout the Middle East, with most of the traffic coming from Egypt, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.


Making up for lost time. US luxury retailer Nordstrom is ramping up its presence in New York City, which is its largest online market. In addition to the planned women’s department store on 57th Street, the company will open two Nordstrom Local locations in Manhattan this fall. Located in the West Village and on the Upper East Side, those two merchandise-free stores will offer pickup and returns for online orders as well as styling and tailoring services.

Content-led commerce. Berlin-based lifestyle publication Highsnobiety is launching (paywall) its eCommerce platform on May 22, featuring an exclusive collaboration with Prada’s Linea Rossa. In addition to dynamic drops of exclusive products and designer collaborations, Highsnobiety is also working on its own namesake in-house label.

No good deed... A Wall Street Journal article (paywall) about Modell’s hiring a financial advisor to restructure its debt got the US sports retailer in hot water. Within days, shipments from vendors fell by 60 percent, prompting Modell’s management to call its 300 suppliers to get them to resume deliveries. The tactic worked. The company is back on track and will now start to renegotiate its leases - and cut its vendor base in half.


Game Change. Chinese private equity fund Green Harbor Investment has acquired (paywall) a majority stake in New York-based designer brand Jason Wu’s parent company, JWU. It is believed, that the company took over the stake of US investment company InterLuxe. The deal (paywall) should allow Wu, who plans to expand in the Chinese market, to utilize Green Harbor’s management expertise and strategic resources in the region.

From 7 to 11. After filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the US last April, French luxury company Sonia Rykiel has been placed into receivership in France, which is similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. Owned by First Heritage Brands (formerly Fung Brands) since 2012, the company is now looking (in French) for a buyer.


Blowin’ and goin’. Following a rise (press release) in adjusted earnings, Simon Property Group now plans to aggressively redevelop its properties, increasing planned investments from the usual $1 billion to $1.5 billion this year. The US mall operator also wants to rack up top-line growth with its Shop Premium Outlets online platform, which is going to be rolled out company-wide by the summer.

Mixed results. Despite 2 percent revenue growth in Q1, German fashion company Hugo Boss (paywall; translated by Google) recorded a 22 percent decline in Ebitda. German online retailer Zalando (paywall; translated by Google) grew 15 percent, but remains unprofitable. Over in Britain, Next's revenues beat analysts' estimates, as Canadian eCommerce platform Shopify and US sports company Under Armour raise full-year forecasts on robust results.


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