THROWBACK TO 2007
We're not at the bottom yet. Stateside, 21 retailers will be closing down over 3,500 stores all over the country in 2017. Discount chain Payless Shoes is considering shuttering between 500 to 1000 stores as it files for bankruptcy protection.
International markets have not been spared from the retail's downward spiral. Competition from new international fast fashion entrants in Australia have led to the collapse of local chains such as Herringbone and Pumpkin Patch. On the other side of the pond, UK's retail sector struggles under the weight of shifting consumer spending habits, the rise of living wages and increasing sourcing costs due to the weak pound.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
Brazil just can't seem to catch a break. A shrinking economy, inflation, the Zika virus and the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 are the backdrop of turmoil that local retailers and brands have had to navigate. Not all of them have made it out unscathed, with independent local stores taking the brunt of the damage. Business of Fashion reports about the rare ones to weather this retail storm, fast fashion giants Riachuelo and Lojas Renner, that have taken the country's slowdown as a challenge for expansion.
IT'S A LIFESTYLE
Athleisure is sneakily making its way into office dress codes. In Silicon Valley, luxury sneakers are all the rage, particularly Louis Vuitton's Damier high-tops. Designers continue to refine the athletic aesthetic on the Spring/Summer 2017 runways with the incorporation of technical fabrics (think temperature control, ventilating techniques and stretch fabrics) and athletic silhouettes like sweatshirts and track pants.
More brands are jumping headfirst into the $83 billion US athleisure market, but lukewarm performance seem to indicate that this space getting over-saturated. What do you think?
Before you go full force into a product extension plan to capture a share of this growing market, here's a quick gut check on the bases you need to cover.
Rent the Runway co-founder and COO Jennifer Weiss has announced her departure from the company, citing interest in working with earlier-stage start-ups as a reason. This comes at a time when the designer label rental company is preparing for an IPO, following the successful footsteps of Canada Goose, who had the second biggest IPO debut of 2017 thus far.
It is now up to co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyamman to scale the business, and we will certainly be tracking her progress with much interest.
☀️ THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT ☀️
All hail technological innovation. In a survey by Zebra Technologies, brands and retailers are increasingly receptive to adopting new technologies to overcome the challenges faced in the current retail climate. By 2021, more than 57% of respondents have shared plans (or at least intentions) to leverage new technologies for store/online integration, fulfillment, in-store experience, data analytics, and automation.
Could this signal the light at the end of the tunnel for fashion tech companies struggling to communicate the value of their offerings to reticent industry traditionalists?