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Cole Haan opens Thailand flagship

South-East Asia footwear retailer Star360 has announced the unveiling of its Cole Haan flagship store located at Central World, the largest lifestyle shopping destination in Bangkok.

International growth has been key for Cole Haan over the past several years. Since 2014, they have successfully established themselves in over 40 new markets throughout Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.

The design and interior of this store features a series of rooms, which is inspired by a residential layout that showcases the brand's new innovative lifestyle products. This new layout allows for a wider range of footwear and accessories to be displayed.

Cole Haan opens Thailand flagship

Cole Haan opens new store in Bangkok

Coinciding with the unveiling of this new store is the Cole Haan Fall 2017 Extraordinary Women, Extraordinary Stories campaign featuring fashion icons Christy Turlington Burns and Karlie Kloss, captured by photographer Cass Bird.

Burns and Kloss both have major initiatives for giving back: Kode with Klossy, empowering young women and girls to learn to code as well as become leaders in tech, and Every Mother Counts, providing support to mothers around the world with access to essential maternity care.

"We are delighted that Star360 has partnered with us to launch this Cole Haan store in Thailand which will further give customers more access to Cole Haan's innovative and stylish collections for both men and women. This echoes our goal of further expanding and allowing astute customers to find extraordinary footwear and accessories throughout Southeast Asia and the world," said, Greg Dinges, executive vice president and general manager, International at Cole Haan.

photo:via PR Newswire
Marni reopens Shanghai boutique

Marni has reopened its Shanghai boutique on Mainland China at Shanghai's Reel Department Store. To celebrate the grand reopening of their boutique, they had their first ever Marni Christmas Carnival. In total, the brand has 15 stores throughout China.

In honor of the event, Marni launched a line of puppets called "Marni Visitors," a range of puppets commissioned from Colombian artists. A portion of the proceeds are donated to children's charity Piccolo Principe.

In addition, five limited-edition trunk bags were also designed for the Christmas Carnival.

Marni has been undergoing an era of transformation since new creative director Francesco Risso took over from founder and designer Consuelo Castiglioni last year. The designers first collection was met with mixed reviews, but he's trying to take the criticism to improve upon the collections. The 33-year-old designer, who was formerly designer of Prada womenswear, has his work cut out for him following in the footsteps of Marni's acclaimed founder, but he slowly seems to be finding his footing.

photo: via Marni.com
Alexa Chung’s Villoid launches “hyper-curated” shopping

Villoid, the styleboard app co-founded by Alexa Chung, is expanding into “hyper-curated” shopping, enabling style influencers to sell direct to their fans and the public, through their own web shops within the revamped Villoid platform.

The app, which launched in 2015, has users from over 180 countries, said the move will allow influencers, including Chung herself to open and curate their own web shops that the app states will “change the way we shop”.

Launching with Chung’s own web shop, the platform will announce a new shop owner every day, from well-established names to up-and-coming talent, along with some of the infuencers who have risen to prominence within the app’s community, with each “celebrating their individuality and favourite brands and products” from the 4,000-plus brands stocked on Villoid, everything from high street to high end, emerging designers and vintage.

Alexa Chung’s Villoid launches “hyper-curated” shopping

“I’m so excited to be launching this next phase of Villoid alongside some incredible women with enviable taste – some are friends, some I just stalk and others are people I’m sure you’ll come to know and love,” said Chuing. “I’m intrigued to see what they do with their shops and look forward to sharing this journey with you all.”

Style app Villoid launches influencer web shops

Villoid chief executive and co-founder Karin Kaellman added: “In the two years since our launch, we have developed a strong international brand, a solid tech platform, a stream of magnificent brands applying to become part of our ecosystem - and most importantly a warm community of women of all ages, persuasions and locations.

“It was only natural that we strap on our working gloves and build this new angle to our platform - to give our fans what they’ve been calling for - an accessible, personalised and hyper-curated shopping experience with a nifty buy button. Killing three birds with one stone, we simultaneously allow style influencers to side-step the typical hassles of opening their own stores from scratch, and allow brands to be authentically and organically endorsed by some of the most stylish ladies on the planet.”

Since 2016, Villoid’s Emerge program, in conjunction with the British Fashion Council, has been supporting emerging designers by giving them exposure through the platform. This will continue said the app and will stock and promote brands including Serena Bute, Pop & Suki and Zanzan to help expose them to a global audience.

Alexa Chung’s Villoid launches “hyper-curated” shopping

According to Forbes the digital influencer industry is worth 2.5 billion dollars a year, with 92 percent of consumers stating that they trust an influencer more than an advert.

Images: courtesy of Villoid

Powered by Chinese smartphone users splurging billions on mobile games and online shopping, China's tech giants Tencent and Alibaba are racing up the elite league of the world's most valuable companies. Hong Kong-listed Tencent, famous for its games and WeChat messaging service, became the first Asian firm to break into the $500 billion league last week -- briefly overtaking Facebook as the world's fifth biggest company in terms of market value.

Alibaba is just a few billion shy of joining its Chinese competitor at the top table of public listings -- and is already there when taking into account its private affiliates. While the top five -- Apple, Google's parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook -- thrive across the world, the two Chinese firms have made their fortunes by cornering China's own vast market of 750 million internet users. Tencent and Alibaba do have a major advantage over American rivals because China severely restricts access to its internet, with Facebook and Google kept outside the "Great Firewall". But they have also deftly tapped into smartphone technology to woo China's large, adaptable population. "Chinese consumers' acceptance of new technology is faster than nearly anywhere," said Zhao Chen, a managing partner at the China office of tech accelerator Plug and Play.

"Even my grandpa, who is 88 years old, uses WeChat and WeChat payment." Tencent boasts nearly one billion monthly active users of WeChat, known as a "super app" for its combination of instant messaging, social media, mobile payment options, games and publishing. Half of WeChat users spend more than 90 minutes a day on the app. In smartphone games alone, the company's revenues surged by 84 percent in the third quarter, driven by the success of the "Honour of Kings" title. Alibaba, meanwhile, has dominated the e-commerce market, with Chinese consumers flocking to its shopping platforms to buy everything from laundry detergent to Boeing 747s. The firm created an annual sales promotion held during China's "Singles Day", with consumers spending a record $25 billion on November 11 -- 40 percent up from last year.

Electronic cash

Both companies have benefited from China's rapid smartphone adoption, with cheap phones flooding the market and bringing millions online for the first time. "This is basically a story of the mobile internet," said Shameen Prashantham, an associate professor at China Europe International Business School, of the tech giants' growth. "This country leapfrogged the (personal computer) stage straight onto the smartphone stage." Today, there are more than one billion smartphones running in China, according to iResearch. Both Tencent and Alibaba earn most of their revenue from mobile. They have also developed mobile payment applications -- WePay and Alipay -- that are driving hundreds of millions of Chinese to pay for everything from groceries and eating out to water bills. People simply aim their smartphone cameras at a "QR code", similar to a barcode, and click. For merchants, the transaction fees cost just a fraction of swiping a credit card in most countries, and can be completed on the go. This has also unlocked new business models, like for companies who offer sharing services, which now range from bikes to basketballs.

No ads, no business

Although Alibaba and Tencent have grown in a protected corner of the internet, they have developed unique ways to rake in cash. While Amazon takes a cut from the sale of goods like traditional retail, Alibaba takes a different approach. The company earns most of its money from charging merchants to advertise on its Tmall and Taobao platforms. "If you don't buy ads, you won't have any business," said Liu Song, owner of the Sweet Lisa Flagship Store, which sells women's dresses, rompers, and skirts on Alibaba's Tmall store. Liu frequently buys those keywords on Alibaba's platform, paying anywhere from eight to 18 cents when shoppers click into his online store. Unlike Facebook, Tencent earns most of its money from selling virtual items to its millions of users rather than selling their eyeballs to advertisers. WeChat users pay for emoticons they send to friends; players of its slash-and-burn hit game "Honour of Kings" purchase new outfits for their characters for 30 yuan ($5) up. Recently, Tencent has begun to sell some advertising and analysts believe this could be its next big growth driver. The world beyond China also offers opportunity, though neither Tencent or Alibaba can yet challenge their American rivals on the global stage. Should US tech giants fret? "Not really," investor Zhao said. "But they should be alert that Chinese companies are coming up with new business models that really work." (AFP)

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

Luxury fashion label Marni has launched a new retail concept focusing on accessories, to boost its bags, shoes, eyewear and jewellery collections, which currently account for more than 40 percent of its annual turnover.

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

To highlight its accessories, Marni has unveil four new retail concepts in Rome, Paris, Madrid and Shanghai within key department stores that focus exclusively on leather goods, eyewear and jewellery, as well as its bags, which have reported an increase in sales of more than 50 percent since 2016.

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

In Rome, Marni accessories are located at the ground floor of the just inaugurated La Rinascente Tritone store, while in Paris the concession is within Printemps Louvre, and in Madrid, Marni has opens its accessories area in the El Corte Inglés Castellana. In addition, Marni has opened in the Grand Gateway 66 mall at the centre of the dynamic Xujiahui commercial district in Shanghai.

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

All the concessions reflect the Marni retail concept, which plays around with “linear geometry, sophisticated marble inlaid flooring and witty handling of delicate colours that contrast with bolder hues” said the brand in a press statement.

Images: courtesy of Marni

Calvin Klein partners with Amazon to launch exclusive holiday store

Calvin Klein and Amazon Fashion are teaming up to launch Calvin Klein X Amazon Fashion holiday retail experience, available for customers to shop now through December 31st. The company said a statement that this experience will include pop-up shops in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as an online brand store on Amazon.com/mycalvins.

”We are proud to collaborate with Amazon Fashion on this exciting retail concept,” said Cheryl Abel-Hodges, Head of Calvin Klein Underwear and President, The Underwear Group of PVH in a statement, adding, “It is our goal to deliver an immersive and content-driven shopping environment to the consumer, and we are thrilled to introduce this experience to Calvin Klein and Amazon shoppers, both online and offline, just in time for the holiday season.”

Calvin Klein partners with Amazon to launch exclusive holiday store

Calvin Klein to launch pop-ups, online store with Amazon

The company added that this first of its kind initiative between Amazon Fashion and Calvin Klein will include exclusive styles available only to Amazon customers at the pop-ups and the online brand store. The pop-ups will be located in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and in the city of Santa Monica in Los Angeles. Each location will sell Calvin Klein underwear products, including men’s and women’s underwear and loungewear offerings, while the online brand store will offer an expanded selection of both Calvin Klein underwear and jeans.

The pop-up shops will allow the customer to make purchases by scanning a bar code in the Amazon App and having their items delivered to their home, or they can even purchase in-store. Fitting rooms will contain AmazonEcho devices, which will allow shoppers to ask Alexa various questions about the Calvin Klein product and experience, control lighting features, and play music of their choice.

“The holiday season is one of the most important shopping times for our customers, and we are delighted to team up with Calvin Klein to provide a fun, interactive experience that connects our customers to product in an engaging way,” added Michelle Rothman, Vice President at Amazon Fashion.

Calvin Klein ties up with Amazon to woo customers

The customization stations at the pop-up stores will also allow shoppers to have their purchased Calvin Klein underwear personalized with special embroidery. Content creation spaces will encourage shoppers to create their own unique, sharable social media clips. Lounge areas will connect shoppers between the bi-coastal shops via video calling on the AmazonEcho Show, allowing them to interact and share content in real time.

The company further stated that throughout the holiday season, the shops will host special events with notable personalities, including supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Klossand comedian and author Lilly Singh.

Picture credit:Calvin Klein

That's (retail) entertainment - the rise of China's Singles Day

What started as a modest marketing event with just 27 participating merchants, has become one of the world's biggest sales events in just nine years. This is Singles Day of course, invented by Chinese online giant Alibaba and since renamed “Global Shopping Festival“, which broke all records this year for Alibaba with a gross merchandise volume of 25.38 billion US dollars.

This year, 140,000 brands and merchants participated in the 24-hour shopping frenzy; as many as never before, and 60,000 of them were international ones. How could a newly invented commercial holiday become so far-reaching and a global phenomenon that is even bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday together, that too in less than ten years? FashionUnited has retraced the most important developments.

That's (retail) entertainment - the rise of China's Singles Day

Anti-Valentine's Day becomes worldwide biggest commercial success

The inofficial holiday has been celebrated in China since the early '90s when students started using it as kind of alternative Valentine's Day, celebrating (or changing) their single status in karaoke bars and restaurants. Gift giving was involved as well. Those establishments soon realised the day's commercial potential and started supporting it, helped by China's online explosion and its burgeoning, upwardly mobile middle class, which had more disposable income than previous generations.

In addition, consumers were being bombarded with advertising that was getting increasingly sophisticated and lured shoppers with discounts that were increasingly hard to resist. Alibaba recognised the enormous commercial potential of the inofficial holiday and turned it into a shopping event that was boosted on its platforms Taobao and Tmall.

E-commerce and m-commerce carried Singles Day

In a culture that values exchanging gifts, especially with friends, family and colleagues, Singles Day and Alibaba's platforms lured Chinese consumers into buying gifts for themselves. This strategy proved so successful for Alibaba that soon, other online retailers joined in, thus supporting Singles Day. Because of the deep discounts, many singles started waiting for 11th November to buy their annual supply of durable goods like creams, toothpaste and soap. This aided Alibaba's success and contributed to the online giant achieving a gross merchandise value of 5.8 billion US dollars already in 2013, only four years after starting the commercial holiday. Last year, Alibaba sold three times as much, achieving 17,8 billion US dollars.

That's (retail) entertainment - the rise of China's Singles Day

Another reason why Chinese consumers have been receptible for Singles Day is that they had been used to other holidays being turned into commercial events, for example Chinese New Year in the spring and the national holiday on 1st October (comparable to Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Halloween in the West), which have been turned into „golden weeks“ - week-long commercial festivals for traditional and online retailers. Thus, the concept of Singles Day fell on fertile ground and as its slogan „Happy double 11“ shows, is celebrated more like a (virtual) holiday than a mere shopping event.

Another factor that fueled Singles Day growth is the e-commerce boom, which allowed Chinese consumers outside of big cities and away from malls, shops and good infrastructure to take part as well. This is true for the population in highly congested areas as well: People prefer to shop from the comfort of their own homes rather than braving traffic and pollution. Many of them did not even invest in a computer but shopped via their smartphones directly - a trend that persists till today: 90 percent of all transactions were made via mobile phones during this year's Singles Day.

Singles Day sales are going up, up, up

There is also an advantage that Chinese consumers had from the start: Participating online retailers realised the importance of their platform being as easy to navigate and customer friendly as possible, so that from the beginning, they invested in a functional shopping environment that appealed to their target group and enabled them to reach international brands as well.

In view of the fact that China's middle class will reach more than 300 million people in the next ten years - more than anywhere in the world, except India - the online shopping trend will increase, as will Singles Day sales. And this is an attractive proposition for international brands and retailers who want to reach such a large audience. The numbers reflect this interest: While in 2009, just 27 Chinese merchants took part in Singles Day via Alibaba's platforms, in 2015 there were 5,000 international brands from 25 countries alone; a number that increased twelve-fold in 2017 to 60,000.

Photos: Alibaba Group
The 10 most expensive shopping locations in the world are...

London - Shopping in New York is often considered as a luxury extravagance not everyone can afford, but that should come as no surprise as it is it also home the most expensive shopping street in the world - at least when it comes to retail space.

The Upper End of 5th Avenue in New York is the world's most expensive retail location in the world and has consistently been ranked as the priciest shopping street in Cushman & Wakefield's annual report Main Streets Across The World . The prestigious retailers located between 49th and 60th Street pay an average rental price of 3,000 USD dollars per square foot per year, which is equal to 28,262 euros per square meter per year. But what are the rental prices for retailers like in other international shopping hotspots, such as Champs Elysées in Paris or Via Montenapoleone in Italy or New Bond Street in London?

FashionUnited maps the 10 most expensive shopping locations in the world according to the rental prices and shares them with you in the Google map below.

Interested in reading more on the world's priciest shopping streets? Then click here to read more.

Photo: Pexels

New Bond Street: 3rd most expensive shopping street in the world

MAP London - New Bond Street has retained its appeal as one of the most luxurious shopping streets in the world. The shopping street, home to leading fashion houses such as Chanel, Mulberry and Louis Vuitton, remains a retail hotspot as annual average rent prices have surged over the past year, growing 37.5 percent, according to the latest report from Cushman & Wakefield's Main Streets Across the World.

The average rental price per square foot per year in June 2016 on New Bond Street, a Zone A district, was 1,600 pounds. A year later, the average rental price has grown to 2,200 pounds or 16,200 euros per square meter, ranking London's New Bond Street as the third most expensive shopping street in the world, up one spot since 2016. This year ranking sees the UK shopping street overtaking Champs Elysées in Paris, which has fallen from third place in 2016 to fifth place, just under Milan's Via Montenapoleone.

FashionUnited maps the 10 most expensive shopping streets in the world according to rental prices on the Google map below:

Read more here

New Bond Street retail rent price increases 37.5 percent in one year

Unsurprisingly, New York's Upper Fifth Avenue retained its crown as the most expensive retail street in the world, with an annual average rent of 3,000 US dollars per square foot (28,262 euros per square meter). Hong Kong's Causeway Bay retained its ranking in second place this year, commanding an average rental price of 2,725 US dollars per square foot in 2017, followed by New Bond Street at 1,719 US dollars. Average rental prices on Via Montenapoleone have increased over the last year, placing the Italian shopping street in fourth place, with rent prices sitting at 1,443 US dollars per square foot.

Champs Elysées in Paris rental prices remained steady over the last year, neither growing nor decreasing at 1,407 US dollars per square foot. Ginza in Tokyo, Japan ranks in sixth place, with an average rental price of 1,200 US dollars per square foot per year and is followed by Pitt Street Mall in Sydney, Australia at 1,000 US dollars per square foot. Seoul's Myeongdong comes in eighth place in the report's ranking of most expensive shopping locations per country, with average rental rates at 914 US dollars per square foot per year, followed by Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich at 883 US dollars and Kohlmarkt in Vienna in tenth place with 490 US dollars per square foot per year.

The results underline the continued demand for prime retail locations, despite the growth in online retailing. Over the year to June 2017, global retail rental growth increased 0.5 percent, reported Cushman & Wakefield, with 136 of the 451 locations monitored reporting growth against 90 to report a decline in rents.

Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton, New Bond Street store

Lord & Taylor is all set to launch a flagship store on Walmart.com in spring 2018. The partnership will see, Walmart.com introducing premium fashion brands directly from the Lord & Taylor flagship.

“Our goal is to create a premium fashion destination on Walmart.com,” said Denise Incandela, Head of Fashion, Walmart US Ecommerce in a statement, adding, “We see customers on our site searching for higher-end items, and we are expanding our business online to focus on adding specialized and premium shopping experiences, starting with fashion. We’re excited that Lord & Taylor is part of the team we’re working with as we continue to create a new Walmart.com.”

The company said that Lord & Taylor will have a dedicated store on Walmart.com and the Walmart app that will reflect the premium fashion it is known for, reaching out to more shoppers than it currently does through Lordandtaylor.com.

“As retail continues to change, this flagship store creates enormous growth opportunities for Lord & Taylor and our brand partners. Walmart.com is a shopping destination that reaches a wide base of customers looking for premium fashion brands. They are a great company for us to work with as we continue to grow our digital presence,” added Liz Rodbell, President of Lord & Taylor.

Walmart.com currently offers more than 60 million items on the site, compared to 20 million items last year. At the same time, Lord & Taylor continues to evolve its department store model, combining brick and mortar locations with online destinations for an exciting all-channel experience.