Welcome back to The Spin! In Britain, embattled retailers are demanding a reform of the commercial retail tax system. Over in the US, the collaboration between a discounter and an entertainment giant is supposed to create retail magic. We also look at the pros, cons and pitfalls of marketing fashion via influencers. And then there are a few new approaches to stage the wares of digitally native brands in our three-dimensional reality. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Tax mania. More than 50 British retailers including Harrods, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer are demanding (paywall; translated by Google) a reform of the British commercial property tax, calling the tax system outdated in a scathing letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Said Javid. They request he freeze the business rates and better equip the Valuation Office Agency, which is behind in processing about 33,000 objections filed between 2016 and 2017. Business rates are among the biggest cost factors for UK retailers, which are seeing a large drop in sales.



Cinderella for Target. On October 4, The Walt Disney Company is going to open shop-in-shops at 25 of the discounter’s US stores. Spanning about 750 sq.ft., these shops will carry about 450 items including apparel, home goods and toys. More Disney shops are scheduled (press release) to open at 40 additional Target stores in October 2020. In turn, Target gets to open a small-format store of its own near the Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.


No match. Ulric Jerome, who held the CEO position at British luxury multichannel retailer since 2015, has stepped down. Owned by (press release) Apax partners since 2017, is known for its services including 90-minute express delivery service in London, a 24/7 consulting service, and a fashion concierge team. Jerome joined the company in 2013 as COO. Until a successor is found, CFO Fiona Greiner and COO Tom Athron will take over.

M for merchandising. To manage and improve its relationships with brand partners, particularly digitally native labels, Nordstrom has created the chief merchandising officer position. It went to former EVP of merchandise planning, Teri Bariquit, who’s been with the retailer for 33 years. In the past few years, Bariquit was instrumental in building relationships with DTC brands including Everlane, Reformation, Good American and Thinks.


Bringing back the middleman. To broaden their direct contact with consumers, digitally native brands are themselves expanding their show rooming activities. As part of their (paywall) continued expansion into existing brick-and-mortar locations, brands have started collaborating with real estate developers, co-working spaces and even private consumers for an Airbnb experience.


Built by bloggers. In its 16 years of existence, US online retailer Revolve has grown into a billion dollar company with a current market capitalization of $1.5 billion - and a profit to boot. Much of its success is based on a revolving team of about 3,500 more or lesser known bloggers and influencers, who are rewarded for posts of product with Revolve merchandise or various means to buy it, which in turn fuels more posts.

Beating the bot. The selection of influencers to work with takes skill, though. According to the University of Baltimore and Cheq, companies will spend about $1.3 billion globally on fake influencers this year. That’s almost 18 percent of their entire marketing expenditures. One of the few ways to avoid them is the establishment of a direct relationship with each and every one.


Mourning Isabel Toledo. Cuban-born fashion designer Isabel Toledo, who designed Michelle Obama’s inaugural outfit, has passed on yesterday at a hospital in New York. The cause was breast cancer. Known for precise geometric construction, Toledo worked closely (paywall) with her husband, Ruben Toledo. She was 59 years old.


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