Aug
 22
 2019



Caroline

Hello,

Welcome back to this new edition of the Spin. The prolonged crisis in Hong Kong is having a growing impact on the economy: Alibaba is postponing its listing in Hong Kong and luxury brands are obliged to absorb declining sales. In other international news, the fashion industry is bringing the topic of sustainability onto the G7 agenda and Amazon celebrates the opening of its biggest campus in India. Enjoy the read. Best, Caroline.



markets

Hong Kong exchange retreat... Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce company, has delayed its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The giant, which is already part of the New York Stock Exchange, planned to raise $15 billion in Hong Kong by the end of August. Nevertheless the growing political unrest in the Asian financial hub has convinced Alibaba's board to wait until October, hoping that the tensions will have relaxed by then.


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....and luxury sales hit. Luxury brands leaders stay mute about the impact on their business of pro democracy demonstrations. However Oliver Chen, an investment bank analyst at Cowen, has calculated (paywall) that brands such as Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Richemont, Capri...could face (paywall) a 10 to 60% sales decrease in Hong Kong, should unrest last until the end of the year. Richemont (Cartier, Piaget...) is the most vulnerable: 11% of its sales depend on Hong Kong.


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Fashionable summit. The G7 summit in Biarritz, this coming week end, will also hear a fashion statement. Twenty retailers and brands such as Gucci, H and M, Zara...will announce a global pact to improve sustainability standards in the fashion industry. Each brand is already fighting the climate crisis in its own house, but the pact will help them to share practices and ideas and combine their buying power to push for changes in the supply chain.





retail

Forget about Seattle. Amazon, the ecommerce giant, has erected in India the largest technology campus outside of its headquarters in Seattle. Its world's biggest campus is in the South Indian city of Hyderabad. To better compete with its nemesis Walmart in one of the world's fastest growing markets, Amazon has built (paywall) a giant 1.8 million sq ft office space. It contains 2.5 times as much steel as the Eiffel tower and will accommodate 15000 employees, engineers, machine learning experts, product managers...



Forget about Victoria. L Brands, the parent company of Victoria's secret had (paywall) a disappointing second quarter this year. Revenue dropped to $2.9 billion from $2.98 billion a year ago. Same store sales at Victoria's secret went down 6% during the quarter. Bath and Body Works, the other retail outlet of L Brands had a much better report. Its same store sales went up 8%. Nevertheless Victoria's Secret remains the market leader in American women's lingerie in America, but for how long?





people

Luxury pay. And the winner is...Marco Gobbetti. The CEO of Burberry has seen his salary increase by 112% to £7.4 million. According to the think tank High Pay Centre, he is the highest paid British boss in the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 index. His colleagues from the FTSE 100 saw their average salary shrink 13% to £3.4 million in 2018. Marks and Spencer's CEO took a 37% pay cut while Next's number one took a 32% reduction.



The new number guy. British shopping center operator Hammerson has appointed James Lenton to be its next CFO (Chief Financial Officer). The former insurance AIG executive also worked at the accountancy firm Ernst and Young. He will undertake his new role October 1. James Lenton will arrive at Hammerson at a crucial moment. The stock price of the company has plummeted 35% after Hammerson had spurned the takeover bid by rival Klepierre in 2018.





brands

Demeulemeester's return. Six years after calling it quit, Ann Demeulemeester reemerges (paywall) as a porcelain maker. The Belgian designer, part of the Antwerp Six, had introduced us to her deconstructivist vision in the late 80s. Her label, a mix of draping and military suiting changed the fashion conversation. Nevertheless, she didn't want to repeat herself in perpetuity. Therefore, she moved to the countryside and experimented with a new medium. This fall, she will unveil Serax, her collection of porcelains and glasses.







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