Daily Links

1. Amazon is opening a real-world clothing store with high-tech fitting rooms: The first Amazon Style store, located in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, California, will open its doors later this year, and will feature women’s and men’s apparel, shoes, and accessories from a mix of well-known and emerging brands, with prices catering to a wide range of shoppers. – Read More on CNBC

2. Retail bankruptcies are on the decline: Retail bankruptcies plummeted by more than half in 2021, matching the lowest level notched over the past decade, potentially signaling an end to the pandemic-prompted retail apocalypse. – Read More on Axios

3. RELATED READ: A Running List of Fashion & Retail Bankruptcies. In light of an array of retail bankruptcy filings that began to unfold over the course of the year in 2016, TFL has been charting retail and fashion industry-specific bankruptcies. – Read More on TFL

4. Macron touts French fashion industry as economic motor ahead of election: “Today, when I look at figures from 2021, it (fashion) is the leading export sector of our country,” Macron told an audience of apprentices gathered at a new Chanel-sponsored site that brings luxury craft houses together. – Read More on Reuters

5. Rent the Runway Works to Swap Red for Black: RTR is tracking its garments, from brands such as Ralph Lauren, Nanushka, Jason Wu, and Lululemon, by way of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags sewn into 1.5 million items, and scanners that register when garments leave or enter the company’s warehouses. – Read More on Bloomberg

1. Cartier’s Dazzling Festive Season Bodes Well for Luxury Stocks: Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods company that owns Cartier and Piaget, said Wednesday that group sales for the three months through December increased almost a third compared with the same quarter of 2020. – Read More on WSJ

2. How COVID-19 and free shipping made overbuying the new norm: Even before the holidays, consumers were sending back e-commerce purchases two to three times as often as in-person purchases, industry data shows. That’s partly because online purchases are more likely to not fit or otherwise satisfy shoppers. – Read More on Dallas News

3. How Luxury Brands Are Making Money in the Metaverse: Among other things, most luxury brands have decades of archival designs that they can convert into virtual assets, providing a new revenue stream with minimal investment. – Read More on Forbes

4. What’s the ‘next normal’ for retail? CEOs chime in: Health, inflation, and supply chain issues will continue to be top of mind for retailers and shoppers over the coming months. Merchants need to ensure their workplace is safe for employees and shoppers and that they’re offering multiple fulfillment options, such as curbside pickup and click and collect. – Read More on eMarketer

5. China’s 150 million online shoppers, overseas suppliers fear coronavirus mail contamination threat: Fear and confusion is spreading among Chinese consumers and overseas suppliers that China’s restrictions on international mail aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus will have a prolonged negative impact on the once-booming overseas online shopping business. – Read More on SCMP

1. Prada points to pent-up luxury demand with 2021 sales surge: Prada said on Tuesday that group sales last year rose 41% at constant exchange rates to 3.364 billion euros ($3.83 billion), 8% above 2019 levels. – Read More on Reuters

2. What Inflation Is Doing to Luxury Buyers in China, the US & the EU: Thanks to inflation, luxury goods will become even more expensive as raw material prices climb. To be sure, this situation will put luxury brands in a tricky situation as it will force them to pass on price hikes on consumers. – Read More on Jing

3. Designing Your Company’s Sustainability Report: When measuring and communicating corporate sustainability performance through sustainability reports or ratings, executives face a rapidly evolving and complex set of choices. As a result, companies are at risk of falling behind or choosing inappropriate reports and ratings that don’t drive sustainability performance and open the door to accusations of greenwashing. – Read More on HBR

4. Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner on the ‘next normal’ for the retail industry: Consumers love ecommerce in all its various forms, but they also love going to the store. In fact, Walmart has reported increased store traffic in recent quarters. – Read More on NRF

5. Venture capitalists invested more money than ever into start-ups last year: Venture capitalists pumped $328.8 billion into U.S. start-ups and $61.8 billion into Chinese start-ups in 2021, while they only invested $39.8 billion in U.K. start-ups. But VC investment in the U.K. and Europe is growing faster than it is in the U.S. and China. – Read More on CNBC

6. Can this online sneaker store from Hong Kong compete with StockX and Goat? Hong Kong-based shoe retailer Sneaker Surge has had an interesting few years that stretch back to 2019 and the citywide anti-government protests that made it difficult to stock local shops. – Read More on SCMP

1. Consumers Still Have ‘Appetite to Spend’ as Omicron Dip Seen as Temporary: “There’s an appetite to spend. There’s still a lot of money that people have, and personal balance sheets are still pretty strong.” – Read More on PYMNTS

2. Hermes Shares Fall Out of Favor: As the most highly rated major luxury stock, trading at 59 times estimated earnings, Hermes has fallen more steeply than lower-rated peers. Its 15% drop in 2022 compares with declines of 6.3% for LVMH and 5.1% for Kering, both of which trade on multiples about half that of their smaller peer. – Read More on Bloomberg

3. Ralph Lauren CEO says metaverse is way to tap into younger generation of shoppers: “One of our strategies is to win over a new generation and the new generation is there. So, we have to be there.” – Read More on CNBC

4. Fashion industry looks to online metaverse as test lab for developing new products, blurring the line between virtual and real: “In the end, it’s about desirability,” said Berg. “If it is desirable in that (virtual) space, why wouldn’t it be desirable in another space?” – Read More on SCMP

5. Rolls-Royce, Bentley, BMW Sales Surge as Cheaper Brands Lag Behind: Rolls-Royce will remain a small, intimate luxury brand focused on creating experiences for its customers. To appeal to younger customers, it is connecting owners through an app called Whispers, which you can only access if you actually own a Rolls-Royce. – Read More on the WSJ

1. Lacoste Snaps Back at M&S in Lawsuit Over Crocodile Trademark Spat: Lacoste is suing M&S for trademark infringement, accusing the retailer of infringing seven of its trademarks by way of goods ranging from bedding to bucket hats. – Read More on Bloomberg

2. Inside the metaverse economy, jobs and infrastructure projects are becoming real: The focus for brands at this point isn’t to win but simply to get involved. So far, brand engagement with blockchain projects has been about building community and staying relevant. The Nike and Adidas NFT drops, for example, generated more buzz than cash, but they lent legitimacy to a still-nascent space. – Read More on CNBC

3. ‘Made in China, sold on Amazon’ community grew in 2021 despite crackdown on fake reviews, US e-commerce giant says: The number of new Chinese sellers added to the Amazon platform recorded double-digit growth last year, Cindy Tai, Amazon.com’s vice-president for Asia Global Selling, said in a video for the company’s seller conference. – Read More on SCMP

4. RETRO READ: In an Already-Crowded Trademark Landscape, Amazon Sellers Are Changing Game. A growing number of Chinese sellers on Amazon are actively “challenging what it means to be a brand,” as the branding of “commodity goods, or types of products where shoppers don’t have much brand loyalty in the first place” is not necessarily important, certainly not in the way a cult skincare brand’s name is or the way a goodwill-soaked luxury logo is. – Read More on TFL

5. Gen Z investors shift focus from ‘meme-stocks’ to the metaverse, report shows: “There’s a lot more interest in metaverse,” Apex Chief Executive Officer Bill Capuzzi said in an interview. “As more NFT companies become public, we’ll probably see them move in to the top 100.” – Read More on Reuters