This is issue no. 229. The last issue had a 45.78% open rate with 7.93% reading up on the ultimate Zara competitor. The Casper brand branches out, launches new product.
And read up on Alibaba's version of brick and mortar retail's future.

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Today's Top Intelligence (15 Reads)
A Working-Class Clothing Brand in America Today
Brand feature: We live in an age where, for every picture of Chance the Rapper and his daughter sporting matching Carhartt overalls, there's a feature describing a neo-Nazi or everyman Trump voter wearing the jacket. Carhartt certainly can't control those who co-opt it for their own causes, but it's stood firm on one principle: Carhartt is for everybody. It's the kind of inclusive vision of the working class you would hope that America would have in 2017—the one that we need.
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And speaking of American brands:
eCommerce: Combatant Gentlemen was founded on the idea that there was “a gaping hole in the affordable menswear market,” according to a post Melwani wrote on Reddit in 2015. The brand touted itself as the “Warby Parker for suiting” and aimed to reduce customer costs by controlling everything from the supply chain to the sale and shipment of its products. 
 eCommerce: Long time entrepreneur Tina Sharkey is on a mission to change that, and rethink CPG from the ground up. Her company Brandless launches today, but we had Sharkey at the NewCo Shift Forum back in February, where she gave an overview of her new company’s purpose.

eCommerce: The move adds another outlet for Shopify’s roughly 400,000 users, though the EBay integration will be available initially only for U.S. customers selling in U.S. dollars, Shopify said in a statement. When Shopify signed a similar deal with Inc. in 2015, its stock surged as investors predicted a boost to revenue.
eCommerce: Fashion and apparel, meanwhile, remains a major growth opportunity for Amazon. Cowen & Co. analysts expect it to increase by 30 percent this year to $28 billion. Fashion as the next frontier 
Brand: The running category hadn’t been a priority for the Adidas-owned Reebok for around seven years. When Reebok planned to introduce Floatride — billed as its first lightweight, long-distance running shoe to feature a proprietary form of technology — the biggest challenge was to build credibility with runners, according to James Woolard, brand director for Reebok.
Media: Snap's lead initial public offering underwriter downgraded the company to a neutral and lowered its price target by 42% to $16. The bank's bear case for the stock is $7.
Brand: And if you’re an athletic guy, you’re more likely to find the Holy Grail than to find a dress shirt that’s fits perfectly off the rack. These issues are things that that clothing companies, like Ministry of Supply, Vineyard Vines and even Under Armour, are finally starting to address.

Disclaimer: equity owner
Brands: Brandless hopes its simple, one-price-for-every-product proposition will be another draw, much like the Dollar Shave Club, which upended the men’s razor market when it introduced a subscription service costing $3, $6 or $9 a month. In a few cases, $3 buys multiple Brandless items, such as a two-pack of organic macaroni and cheese. Shipping is $9, or free for orders of $72 or more. People who pay a $36-a-year membership fee get free shipping on orders of $48 or more.

Brand: The final Flyknit bra, which launches today, is knit as a single layer of material. It has only two panels, in contrast to other high-support bras in the Nike arsenal, which are constructed from up to 41 pieces and 22 seams. This bra weighs only 73 grams, which is 30% less than any other bra within Nike’s line. 

eCommerce: In 2016, Farfetch generated $800 million (£640m) in gross sales - up 70 per cent on 2015. A funding round in May 2016 raised $110 million, led by investors Temasek, IDG Capital Partners and Eurazeo - joining existing investor Vitruvian Partners in valuing Farfetch at $1.5 billion. 

eCommerce: Last month, ultimate luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter launched an exclusive partnership with Witherspoon and Draper James. And a couple of other southern brands (with notably higher price points) managed to capture the fashion world's attention early on.

eCommerce: One thing 24 Sèvres already has going for it is that it looks different than most shopping sites out there right now, thanks to big, beautiful imagery on the home and product pages. Goguey says this is meant to make you feel like you're window-shopping at high-end stores, whether it be in Paris or New York City. And, really, a well-designed site is the least you should expect when you're about to spend thousands of dollars on a handbag.

Retail Real Estate: West County Center is not a dying mall. Sure, everything might be on sale, but people are taking the bait. Lots of people. And at a time when malls are seeing a record number of store closures, West County has actually added tenants this year. The shopping center is both newish and not, having been built in 1969, then demolished in 2001 to make way for a nicer construction the following year. The $230 million-dollar project resulted in 1.2 million square feet of leasable space anchored by the high/low/medium mix of Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s.

Retail: The owner of Uniqlo, Theory and J Brand clothing ranges became the world's third-largest apparel maker by delving into fast fashion before it was even in style. It used a large bricks-and-mortar store network in Japan to trot out new looks ahead of competitors, and then exported that model around the world.

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