Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Spin! Retailers are on a roll again: Macy's plans to unlock real estate value by building a skyscraper on top of its Manhattan flagship, Walmart looks to spin-off its British Asda supermarket chain, and a slew of tech companies aims to digitize India's small kirana neighborhood stores. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


The sky is M's limit. Fueled by double-digit growth in its online business, US department store group Macy's Inc. was able to beat expectations in Q1. Numbers remain below last year’s results, though. To unlock real estate value, the company now plans to build (paywall) a sky scraper on top of its Manhattan flagship. Shareholders still remain wary. After the stock went up 7 percent in pre-market trading, it ended the day down 0.1 percent.

Escape plan. US retail giant Walmart, which is currently getting some heat for trying to match Amazon on its next-day delivery service, is seriously looking to spin-off its British Asda subsidiary. The move follows the collapse of the proposed merger of Asda with British rival Sainsbury’s, which was blocked by UK regulators in April.


Express=Shopping. In a massive overhaul of its Express service, Google has integrated its shopping search feature and renamed the personalized experience Google Shopping. On the tech giant's newly-designed homepage, customers can now search products by brands, features and ratings and purchase items directly from the site via digital shopping carts.

Massive mission. India's Reliance Retail plans to build the world’s largest 020 platform. The company is on track to expand its Jio mobile POS devices from 15,000 to 5 million so-called kirana neighborhood stores in the country. In addition to large tech companies, which include Amazon and Walmart, a slew of start-ups are also targeting this market. Currently, there are about 17 million kiranas in India.


Back to the farm... By 2025, French luxury holding Kering will require all suppliers of of leather, cashmere and other animal products to adhere to stringent European Union animal ethics requirements. Led by chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu, the holding of luxury brands like Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent aims to work closely with farmers to support the implementation of its animal welfare standards.

...and the bee hive. Meanwhile, rival LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (Celine, Dior, Fendi) has started a partnership with Unesco to protect key ecosystems utilized by the luxury industry, among them the habitat of black bees whose honey is being used in some of its Guerlain skincare products.


Adult swim. Sports Illustrated's annual swimwear edition, which launches countless models’ careers, continues to make headlines for featuring Somali model Halima Aden wearing a burkini and hijab. This is a first for the skin exposing magazine; a move that might also inspire ailing Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand. In line with the growing inclusivity trend, the magazine also put 45-year-old model/entertainer Tyra Banks on its cover.


The new bands. At the annual Forum event (images) of Europe's leading fashion industry magazine TextilWirtschaft at the Schwetzingen Palace, Highsnobiety founder David Fischer spoke of teenagers, who finance their luxury addiction with smart reselling. He also explained (paywall; translated by Google) the increasing influence of fashion communities - and why brands are the new bands. As reported, Highsnobiety’s online store will debut with a Prada collaboration on May 22.


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