Welcome to a new Wednesday edition of The Spin. English retail takes the spotlight today with one company cheering its great performance and another literally begging reluctant accounting firms to take it on as a client. The UK has also launched a new sustainable fashion platform just in time for London Fashion Week, which starts in two days. There's also news from New York and India. Enjoy the read! Best, Christopher


An exceptional exception. Yesterday UK sportswear retailer JD Sports brilliantly bucked the trend of ailing retail sales by reporting a 10 percent rise in sales at its UK locations in the first half of the year. Analysts called the performance – which clearly piggybacked on society's love of athleisure looks – "exceptional." It's another positive leap forward at the company, where profits have tripled over the past five years.


Pretty please? Troubled UK retail conglomerate Sports Direct has asked the four top accounting firms to re-enter talks to take on its audit contract. The company's longtime auditor, Grant Thornton, quit the job earlier this year after the Sports Direct filed its annual statement weeks behind schedule. The quartet of possible replacements have thus far all rejected becoming its replacement. The company has also banned the media from attending its annual general meeting taking place today where majority owner Mike Ashley may not be re-elected as director.

The great outdoors. Stock in beleaguered retailer JCPenney rose nearly 19 percent yesterday after the chain announced it is launching a new men's in-house collection and a fresh shop-in-shop concept. JCPenney will start selling St. John's Bay Outdoor – a line of rugged apparel inspired by the outdoors – tomorrow in stores and online. And on October 4 the retailer will roll out Outdoor Store (press release), shop-in-shop corners that will carry the new line as well as other like-minded outdoorsy sportswear brands.


Cheering Vera. Noted designer Vera Wang showed her latest collection on the New York Fashion Week runway yesterday for the first time in two years to celebrate the 30th birthday of her namesake business, which according to its longtime president, continues to boom. While best known for her luscious bridal gowns, Wang is offering a lingerie-inspired collection of ready to wear for spring 2020.

Crocodile careers. Lacoste, which was the most worn brand of players at the recently ended US Open tennis tournament, has added (paywall) two new names to its executive committee. Catherine Spindler, a veteran of Yves Rocher and Vente-Privee, is the French brand's new executive vice president of marketing and branding while Jean-Louis Delaware, who joined Lacoste in 2014, is the new executive vice president of markets and distribution. Both executives are based at the label's headquarters in Paris.


Old habits die hard. Consumers are slower to embrace technology when shopping than previously assumed says a new report released by exchange-traded funds provider Global X ETFs. According to the survey (press release) of 500 respondents, only 40 percent of people are comfortable buying small-ticket items online while just 15 percent would purchase a big-ticket item such as jewelry online without seeing it in person first. And quite unsurprisingly, the study says that Millennials are more likely to adopt new technology than Baby Boomers.


Positive vibes. The British Fashion Council has launched a new initiative that will help UK brands become more sustainable. Called the Institute of Positive Fashion, the platform aims to create new benchmarks for sustainability and positivity in the industry. Its three key tenets include sustainability, equality & diversity and craftsmanship & community.

Thinking locally. As part of its entrance into the Indian market next month, Japan's Uniqlo will offer a collection of traditional Indian kurtas designed (and modernized) by Indian designer Rina Singh, whose ethnic label Eka is popular there. The Kurta Collection will be a part of the retailer's LifeWear collection and is a wise business choice as ethnic wear such as kurtas and sarees still account for the largest segment of Indian womenswear sales-wise. The items will also be launched in other Asian nations including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, among others.


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