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Today's Top Intelligence (12 Reads)
LVMH and the Next Big Digital Shopping Experience
It is a gamble that has divided many of the fashion industry’s power players. On the one hand, 24 Sèvres will be yet another contender in an already crowded sector, where established rivals such as Yoox Net-a-Porter, FarFetch and have long been jostling for the world’s wealthiest consumers. Anticlimactic performances by more recent entrants like, Condé Nast’s multimillion-dollar digital boutique, indicated that even the most reputable names in fashion can struggle when arriving late to the game.

Poor Mr. Porter
The Takeaway: Although he said that Amazon had been upfront with him about its plans to eventually build an Echo with a screen, it never revealed that the focus of the device would be specifically around communication. Previous iterations of the Echo had been around streaming content.

The Takeaway: After the 2008 recession, younger generations spent more time at home. Watching movies, playing video games, and crafting home-cooked meals, they did everything they could to keep things affordable and convenient in the comforts of their cocoons. Turns out, they liked it—and decided to stay. Today, not much has changed. People still want to create a sanctuary amid the hectic dance called life. The only difference this time around is that they have more toys to play with, and they genuinely want to spend more time at home.

The Takeaway: Snap has already started to draw comparisons to Twitter, another consumer product that ran into user growth issues while living in Facebook’s shadow. There are other similarities, too, like the fact that both products can be hard for people to use, that both businesses are unprofitable, and both companies spend a lot of money on stock awards granted to employees.

The Takeaway: Shopify is the market leader, but it's hardly the only option for independent e-commerce merchants. Magento is still a popular choice for complex or high-scale e-commerce setups. Shopify competitor BigCommerce offers many of the same features as its primary rival, along with an emphasis on making it easy for merchants to support digital wallets, in part to make cross-border trade easier.

The Takeaway: That seems logical, but that's not really what Snapchat said even in late February when it discussed its prospects with potential investors. The company said at the time that it wanted investors to love Snapchat for its focus on a smaller group of devoted fans who use Snapchat 30 minutes a day, on average.

The Takeway: But Macy's is not the retail proxy it once was, back when the only place shoppers could get a Coach bag or a Ralph Lauren jacket was at the downtown department store. At $25 billion in annual sales, a drop in the $5 trillion U.S. retail bucket, Macy's performance should not be a read on the broader industry. 

The Takeaway: For Spring, long-term success may hinge on how well it puts the right selection of clothing in front of the right shopper — bringing the moments of discovery of shopping in the physical world to an online storefront. Many e-commerce players have tried and failed to deliver a comparable experience.

The Takeaway: In less than five years, Flexe has created a marketplace of spare storage space in 550 warehouses, quickly establishing better geographic coverage than the vast delivery network that Inc. spent decades and billions building. Flexe did it without spending a nickel on facilities and already has 25 million square feet of storage, about 25 percent of Amazon’s capacity, and expects to add 10 million square feet this year. 

The Takeaway: Adidas announced on Wednesday that the supervisory board had promoted Western Europe head Gil Steyaert to global operations chief and elevated Karen Parkin, human resources head since 2014, to the executive board. In March, Adidas appointed Harm Ohlmeyer as new finance chief, replacing Robin Stalker, who worked alongside Hainer for 16 years.

The Takeaway: With a clear pathway into the consumer's closet, Amazon is on its way to becoming the largest U.S. apparel retailer by the end of the year, according to a prediction made by Cowen & Co. in 2016. Amazon is well on its way to dethroning traditional apparel retailers: Its $16.3 billion apparel sales in 2015 exceeded those of the next five competitors — Macy’s, Nordstrom, Gap, Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands — combined, according to an Internet Retailer report.

The Takeaway: The entire luxury menswear collection will launch in September and include many of the original Kingsman categories and partner brands. Core pieces include Kingsman original tailoring; Turnbull & Asser shirting; Cutler & Gross eyewear; George Cleverley shoes; Drake’s ties and pocket squares; Mackintosh outerwear; Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrellas and leather accessories; Conway Stewart writing instruments; and Deakin & Francis cufflinks and small accessories.

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