Welcome back to The Spin! A private equity firm tries to block HBC's potential privatization, Stylebop is closing down, and Zalando delivers for Adidas. And: Contrary to popular belief, in 2018 the strong expansion of small stores has resulted in more store openings than closings. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Extraordinary measures. To block the privatization of Hudson’s Bay Company by HBC Executive Chairman Richard Baker, Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group has purchased 18,491,502 of the retail group’s shares. This represents (press release) 10.05 percent of total shares outstanding at C$10.11 per share for a total of C$187 million. As reported, Baker and other shareholders, who own a total of 57 percent, had proposed to take the Toronto-based company private for C$9.45 per share.


Stylebop's flop. German luxury etailer Stylebop is bankrupt. On Thursday, managing director Mark Ralea filed (paywall; translated by Google) an application to open insolvency proceedings. Just two weeks ago, he had informed suppliers that the company was scheduled to discontinue business operations in 2020. To avert insolvency, he asked for a suspension of payments at the time, but apparently not all suppliers complied. Stylebop suffered (paywall; translated by Google) from a lack of vision, initiated restructuring measures too late, and burned too much money in its miscalculated expansion into Asia. For now, its next steps remain unclear.


Clipping corporate. To pay off debt, Tailored Brands has sold (press release) its corporate apparel division to a team of UK corporate apparel executives for $62 million in cash. In the future, the Houston/Texas-based company plans to focus on its North American retail business, including Men's Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, Joseph Abboud, Moores Clothing for Men and K&G. Tailored Brands also lifted its Q2 guidance.


Power couple. German sports giant Adidas is the first brand to utilize the new Fulfillment Solutions service by Berlin-based etailer Zalando, which charges brands a commission to list on its website rather than selling the products itself. According to Zalando, the goods are owned by Adidas and stored in Zalando’s warehouse on consignment, with payments also being handled by Adidas. By the end of the year, the trial might expand (paywall; translated by Google) into Germany.

Doing something! The wife of New York billionaire and Related Chairman Stephen Ross, designer and CFDA board member Kara Gaffney, has traditionally kept a low profile. But in light of the controversy about her husband’s recent fundraiser for Donald Trump, she is also facing backlash. Two established jewelry designers, Dana Lorenz and Simon Alcantara from Fallon Jewelry, have publicly cancelled their CFDA memberships.


The rise of the small store. Although massive store closures dominate headlines in the US, actual numbers actually contradict the story. According to the Census Bureau, in Q4 2018, for example, there were about 3,100 more stores than during Q4 2017. But while news about closures are usually driven by larger formats like Sears, Macy’s and most recently Barneys, most of the openings are by smaller, independent retailers with fewer than five employees. This year, the development looks quite similar.


From Bentonville to the Bay Area. Just thirteen months after taking the CMO position at Walmart, Barbara Messing is going to leave the US retail giant on August 30th. According to the Bentonville-based company, Messing intends return to the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. While Walmart searches for a new chief marketer, the group's consultant Michael Francis, who formerly held CMO positions at Target and DreamWorks, will take over the position in the interim.


Digital detox. As some of the high-profile tech leaders in Silicon Valley are contemplating their massive success, some recognize that their conventional triumphs don't necessarily make the world a better place. The search for a way out of their crisis of conscience, many travel to simple retreats that offer meditation and workshops in remote environments that often don't even have cell reception - for a much needed digital detox.


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