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Inside Retail (Aug 12th, 2019)

It's Monday and I want to know your thoughts on JCPenney.

JCPenney reports earnings this week and is facing delisting from the New York Stock Exchange for its low stock value. I went to a JCPenney two years ago to check out a Sephora shop-in-shop and it was as awkward as I thought it would be. Hit reply to tell me about your experience the last time you were in a JCPenney. Are you surprised by its low stock value?

– Cassidy

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1. Versace apologized to China for a shirt that listed Hong Kong as a city in Hong Kong, and Macau as a city in Macao, instead of listening them as part of China. Versace's first Chinese brand ambassador, actress Yang Mi, quit working with the brand citing China's "One China" policy. Mi's agency posted on Weibo, "the motherland’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred and inviolable." Versace destroyed the remaining shirts and apologized as a brand on Twitter. Donatella Versace used her personal Instagram to say, "Never have I wanted to disrespect China's national sovereignty, and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused." The Chinese government has historically threatened to ban companies that have separated Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet from China. Other retailers that have had to deal with a similar issue are Gap when it made a shirt with a map of China that excluded Taiwan, and Zara which listed Taiwan as a country on its website. Marriott, Delta, and H&M have also had to apologize to China for challenging China's sovereignty. - QUARTZ

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2. Nike is launching a kids sneaker subscription box called Nike Adventure Club. Parents can order shoes monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly and choose price points of $20, $30, or $50. "We are now building relationships with kids from 2 years old,” said Dave Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club. He explained Nike's marketing strategy by point out that “Hopefully they will remember us and feel strongly toward the brand.” The boxes will be personalized with the child's name on the outside and come with an activity guide, stickers, and promo product. - CNBC

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3. Case of the Mondays: Bayer did not make an $8 billion offer to settle Roundup cancer claims, according to the official mediator Ken Feinberg. Feinberg called the news that Bayer was ready to settle "pure fiction." Feinberg emailed Insurance Journal saying, "compensation has not even been discussed in the global mediation discussions." Rumors about settlement began circulating late last week when a source reportedly close to the negotiations said that Bayer had proposed settling 18,000 lawsuits in the U.S.

Bayer acquired Roundup parent company Monsanto last year for $63 billion. Roundup was the weed killer that contained glyphosate that was linked to increased rates of cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency does not require adding a cancer warning on Roundup labels despite the World Health Organization finding that glyphosate is "possibly carcinogenic to humans." There are over 18,400 cases in the U.S. against Bayer alleging the product caused cancer, and so far juries have been finding for the plaintiffs. Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart are among retailers still selling it.

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4. Menswear-focused apparel brand Flag & Anthem made Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey its first brand ambassador. Flag & Anthem previously had partnered on collections with musician Dierks Bentley and Ford Motors. The label was founded by two former Macy's employees who grew it into a subscription-based lifestyle collection synonymous with a $60 woven shirt, tees and hoodies. McCaffrey said of the line, "It’s comfortable for me.” The label is sold in 300 boutiques and department stores including Bloomingdale's and mall chain Buckle. - WWD

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5. Walmart, JCPenney, and Macy's report earnings this week.

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6. Roku looks like it is going to make a lot more of an investment in its partnership with Walmart. The streaming company reported revenue was up 59 percent and revealed in a letter to shareholders that it "recently agreed with Walmart to offer several new Roku devices including audio products to its customers under its Onn brand. This is in addition to Roku TVs and Roku players already sold through Walmart." As The Motley Fool points out, the benefit of the Walmart partnership is not based on device sales. Instead, Roku will be able to expand market penetration to a broader base of consumers who use free channels with commercials and create more opportunities for brand awareness. - THE MOTLEY FOOL

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7. British football star Raheem Sterling and his club Manchester City are reportedly in talks to sign a $120.8 million deal to exclusively wear Air Jordan boots. Jordan only got into the global football market last year when it made a new Paris Saint-Germain kit. Sterling is currently under contract with Jordan's parent company Nike, although that contract will run out at the end of the season. He would be the first soccer star to sign with the brand that is rooted in basketball history. This will be the Jordan brand's first marketing push for soccer. Nike has signed Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, but Adidas has Lionel Messi. - TELEGRAPH

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8. Fast fashion giants H&M and Zara are seeing positive results after closing stores due to market saturation. H&M closed 140 stores last year and only plans to open 130 stores globally. H&M is maintaining its 15 percent gain from last quarter. Zara closed 355 stores last year and plans to close 250 more this year. Zara plans to open 300 more stores but is also focusing heavily on expanding e-comm. It already launched e-comm sites to cover 500 million people in countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, and plans to launch sites that would reach another 275 million people in South Africa, the Philippines, and Jordan among others. - FORTUNE

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9. China's tech companies are getting into personalized skincare as demand soars for voice activated magic mirrors and AI-backed skincare recommendations. Meitu Xiuxiu is an app that has 455 million monthly subscribers seeking tips on how to correct their photos for the best skin. Parent company Meitu is also rolling out beauty devices now and has partnered with Sephora in Shanghai. Alibaba developed a smart mirror that gives makeup tips. Users can then order the product it recommends on Tmall. - SCMP

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10. Master P, aka Percy Miller, called his MoneYatti bespoke sneaker line the Bugatti of shoes. The shoes are handmade in Italy from "Italian leather or suede and in some cases organic canvas, special materials, prints, limited edition textiles and cruelty free vegan leathers." Master P said, "The brand is about the next generation and how to start thinking about business now." - YAHOO!

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Written and curated by Cassidy Mantor, a brand storyteller with a decade of retail marketing experience including in-house at Nike and Oakley. Occasionally she writes a “think piece” about fashion law for the American Bar Association. She is happy to be based in coastal Virginia except when there’s a hurricane. She can be found on LinkedIn.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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