Jul
 09
 2019



Ulrike

Hello,

Welcome back to The Spin! US retailers urge the FTC to investigate antitrust allegations against big tech companies, the country of Austria is banning plastic bags, and virtual fashion is going to influence influencers’ ever changing looks on social media. There’s also a popup shop in London that brings in merchandise from neighboring retailers based on real time trend information. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike



markets

Body of Evidence. The US Retail Industry Leaders Association has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate big tech firms like Amazon and Google, and even offers to help. The group, which represents big names including Walmart and Target, emphasizes that tech platforms don’t need to be able to control prices, when they control effective access to price information. In an additional blow to Amazon, a federal appeals court decided that the online giant can be held liable for defective goods by third-party sellers on its marketplace.



Putting an end to it. As the world drowns in plastic waste, the Austrian National Council has unanimously decided to ban plastic bags starting January 2020. Bags already in stock may be sold (paywall; translated by Google) during a transitional 12-month period. Sewn, robust reusable bags as well as thin plastic bags, as being used primarily in fruit and vegetable departments, are exempt from the rule. The latter, however, must be made from predominantly renewable raw materials and be suitable for self-composting.





tech

Tracking the Trend. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s Westfield London mall has launched The Trending Store, where consumers can find items that are trending in real time. Supported by AI trend expert NextAtlas, the store tracks more than 3 billion data point from over 400,000 innovators in 150 countries to identify the most important tendencies, which currently include “romantic heroines”. Based on the results, the store sources items on demand from its neighbors in the mall, including Topshop and Stuart Weitzman.



Dream Dresses. Fueled by influencers’ need to constantly feature new outfits on social media, companies are now selling virtual garments. Last November, Norwegian retailer Carlings launched a purely digital clothing line with items retailing for $11-$33. This May, Dutch startup The Fabricant, sold the digital Iridescence dress for $9,500 on the blockchain to a tech executive as a gift for his wife. Contrary to digital costumes for video games, these creations are tailored directly to customers based on photos.





retail

Like a Wrecking Ball. In response to a slew of problems including a warehouse crisis in the US, plummeting sales, and a 87 percent drop in pre-tax profits, British online retailer Asos is going to cut about 100 positions in its London-based head office. Most positions affected are in the marketing department.



Back to the future. German womenswear retailer Gerry Weber has sold (press release) the majority of its troubled Hallhuber subsidiary to British investment firm Robus Capital, which plans to pump still more money into the Munich-based retail chain. The purchase price was €500,000 in cash, with Gerry Weber retaining 12 percent in the enterprise. In 2015, Gerry Weber paid Change Capital €82.5 for Hallhuber. In the future, the chain plans to focus (paywall; translated by Google) on the mid-market segment between mass merchants and premium stores.



Think Big! German shopping club BestSecret will open a 4000m² outlet store at Frankfurt Airport in August, offering (paywall; translated by Google) a mix of designer brands and mainstream labels at discounts of 20-80 percent. Similar to its online shop, only recommended shoppers are given access, with a waiting list for new applicants. Frankfurt currently counts two TK Maxx locations, but there are no outlet centers in the area. A Saks Off Fifth branch was recently closed due to lack of traffic.





last

Mourning Khalid Al Qasimi. Just weeks after he showed his fall/winter 2019 menswear collection at London Fashion Week, Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi was found dead (press release) in his penthouse in London. The son of the His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, is said to have passed following a lavish party. He was 39 years old. In 1999, Qasimi's older brother died in England at age 24 from a heroin overdose.







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