Welcome to Wednesday – and a new edition of The Spin. The US government has just announced a new antitrust investigation and Amazon is bound to be under its microscope. And a consumer watchdog group has asked the government to open a second one against the online behemoth. Yesterday we told you about Macy's fat shaming with a plate... today it's Forever 21's turn to get called out on Twitter for doing something strikingly similar. Enjoy the read! Best, Christopher


Trust busting... Six days ago the European Union announced that it was opening an antitrust investigation of Amazon and now the US government appears to be following suit. The Department of Justice said yesterday that it is starting a broad antitrust examination of big tech companies. And although it did not give specific names, it did say that the firms control search engines, social media and retail services – therefore making Amazon a prime (pardon the pun) target of the probe.

...and illegal endorsements? In other Amazon versus the US government news, a consumer advocacy group called Public Citizen has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that it investigate whether the online giant fully disclosed which "Best Deals on Prime Day" stories published by various authors last week were actually paid endorsements. Through Amazon's retailers' associates program, reviewers write about products and then direct traffic to Amazon for a commission. Amazon says all people are required to disclose they are an Amazon associate or their connection and account with the company will be terminated.


Counter offer. Richard Baker, the chairman of Hudson's Bay Company, has just found his first potential hurdle regarding his offer last month to take the retail conglomerate private. Catalyst Capital Group Inc, a Toronto-based private equity firm, has countered with an offer to buy about 14.8 million common shares for C$10.11 per share, which is 66 cents more per share than what Baker said he would pay. Catalyst already owns a stake in HBC and said its bid will stand until August 16.

More States for Snipes. Snipes, the Cologne-based lifestyle and shoe retailer, has expanded its US footprint just two months after it entered the US market by acquiring the KicksUSA chain. It has now also purchased (paywall; translated by Google) Detroit-based Mr. Alan's Men's Bootery, a urban footwear chain that operates 31 stores in Detroit, Chicago and parts of Florida. The terms of the deal (press release) were not disclosed and all the stores will be rebranded under the Snipes name in 2020.

Insult with purchase. Forever 21 sent the Twitterverse abuzz when some plus-size customers revealed that they also had received an Atkins lemon diet bar in their shipments. People called the move shameful and fatphobic and pledged to boycott the store. The retailer later issued an apology and explained that the free promotional third-party gift with purchase was included in all orders no matter what the size. It called the move an "oversight" and said that it was removing the bars for all future shipments.


Swift kick. Dr Martens is suing three fast-fashion retailers – BooHoo, Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing.com – for copyright infringement. The brand's parent company, AirWair International Ltd, filed the suit in a California court and it alleges that the three have been blatantly knocking off Doc Martens' iconic styles for the past three years. The brand has requested up to $1 million in damages per each model copied.

On schedule. The CFDA has released the preliminary show schedule for the now five-day New York Fashion Week in September and – as always – it contains several notable brand names. Among the famous labels showing are The Row, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. Three big NYFW veterans – Rodarte, Opening Ceremony and Rag & Bone – will not be returning this season however.

Losing influence. Brands that rely on Instagram influencers might want to change their tack. A recent study said that engagement rates have plummeted to a record low. However, a new important breed of muse has emerged on TikTok, the so-called E-girl. These millennials with multicolored hair and somewhat outrageous makeup (video) are attracting millions of views and thousands of followers.


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