Weekly News Update // Week of March 1, 2021

 Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent retail news. Kering invests in Vestaire Collective, Ralph Lauren to enter the retail business with "The Lauren Look", Coty plans to recycle carbon into perfume, and more. 


  • Oscar Health prices IPO at $39 and secures a $9.5B valuation TechCrunch 
  • Instacart’s valuation doubles to $39 billion CNBC
  • Coupang may raise up to $3.6 billion in its IPO, at a potential valuation of $51 billion TechCrunch
  • Klarna Valued at $31 Billion After US Growth Stoked Investors BoF
  • Square buys majority of Tidal, adds Jay Z to its board in bid to shake up the artist economy TechCrunch 
  • Chinese Beauty Giant To Acquire Eve Lom BoF
  • Francisco Costa’s Costa Brazil Acquired by Biotech Company Amyris BoF
  • Atomic just raised $260 million more to build and fund its own companies TechCrunch
  • Vestiaire Collective raises $216 million for its second-hand fashion platform TechCrunch
  • Postscript raises $35M to give Shopify stores SMS superpowers TechCrunch
  • Maestro nets $15 million for its interactive commerce, community and engagement tools for livestreams TechCrunch 


Why Kering Invested in Vestiaire Collective

A year ago, none of French luxury group Kering’s brands had dared dip a toe into the fast-moving waters of online fashion resale. Even as luxury resale sites like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective became increasingly popular, the platforms’ rise was greeted warily by an industry that thrives on strictly controlling the distribution, price, and perception of its items. But the sector’s attitude seems to be evolving. Since 2018, Burberry and Stella McCartney have entered into partnerships to collect, curate, and sell items on The RealReal. LVMH executive committee member Antoine Arnault said in December that the group, luxury’s biggest company, is looking at resale opportunities. And since October, Kering brands Gucci and Alexander McQueen have both announced partnerships with consignment sites. Now, Kering has acquired a 5 percent stake in Paris-based Vestiaire Collective, in the clearest sign yet that luxury’s attitude to the second-hand model could be thawing. BoF


Ralph Lauren Enters the Rental Business With ‘The Lauren Look’

Ralph Lauren is ready to take a big bite out of the rental business with “The Lauren Look.”The company today will introduce its first subscription apparel rental initiative with the Lauren Ralph Lauren brand. The business, operated by CaaStle, the business-to-business rental platform, will sit on ralphlauren.com and launch exclusively in North America. It can also be accessed directly through TheLaurenLook.com. “The Lauren Look allows us to explore an entirely new model tapping into the growing focus on the sharing economy and revolutionizing how we look at fashion consumption,” said David Lauren, the company’s chief innovation and brand officer. “Launching with Lauren, our most widely distributed and accessible brand, is a testament to the growth we see in this space and will help us further anticipate the evolving needs and makeup of our consumers’ future closet.” WWD


Coty Plans to Recycle Carbon into Perfume

The beauty giant said Tuesday it is aiming to make the majority of its fragrances using ethanol from captured industrial carbon emissions by 2023. The company has signed a letter of intent to partner with carbon recycling company LanzaTech to manufacture the ingredient. Carbon capture techniques that suck up industrial emissions have existed for decades, but it’s costly and the technology has struggled to scale. LanzaTech offers one route to commercialisation. The company recycles industrial gasses like carbon dioxide produced in steel manufacturing into ethanol, a key ingredient in perfume. Coty’s scientists worked with LanzaTech and its production partners for two years to develop a high-purity ethanol suitable for use in fragrances. The beauty company’s embrace of the technology comes amid heightened awareness of the fashion and beauty industries’ environmental impact. Coty has outlined an ambition to reduce its absolute carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030. BoF


At-home Fitness Company Tonal to Open Shops Within 40 Nordstrom Stores

Nordstrom is searching for ways to grow its active business, while it adds more merchandise to its stores beyond dresses, shoes, handbags and makeup. It has found a new partner in Tonal, a company that sells a wall-mounted workout station for $2,995. The department store chain announced Monday that it will be adding 40 mini Tonal shops to its stores, with the rollout beginning this month. The 50-square-foot shops will be located in Nordstrom’s active department next to workout apparel and other fitness accessories. Customers will be able to demo the Tonal device and speak with a Tonal employee. CNBC


Japan’s Mercari Partners with Alibaba in China

The Tokyo-listed second-hand marketplace will begin listing its products on Alibaba’s Taobao and Xianyu platforms, Nikkei Asia reports. The cross-border play is Mercari’s bid to tap into mainland China’s growing market for used goods and a continuation of its expansion across the Asia Pacific region: last year, it partnered with Singaporean e-tailer Shopee to sell products to Taiwan. But it isn’t the only Japanese player doing so. Yahoo Japan has linked arms with Alibaba to help Japanese brands enter the Chinese market and Rakuten has partnered with JD.com. BoF


Farfetch Officially Launches on Alibaba’s Tmall

The luxury retailer unveiled its flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion today on the back of last November’s mega deal with the Chinese retail giant and Richemont. The move aims to help Farfetch plug into Alibaba’s 779 million consumers — and through it, thousands of designer brands. Despite Tmall’s proven popularity with luxury brands and retailers, which has produced partnerships with both Farfetch and Net-a-Porter, the launch proves there is still a major opportunity to capture brands that don’t have individual storefronts on its platform. Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju recently forecasted that Farfetch’s active shoppers could hit at least 30 million in the next five years, thanks to its growth in the China market. Farfetch has kicked off its localisation efforts by launching big promotions, shopping gifts and collaborating with celebrities Song Zu’er and Fei Qiming. These activations have already helped the retailer draw over 25,000 followers. BoF



  • Amazon Fashion Names Muge Erdirik Dogan President WWD
  • Kate Spade Creative Director Nicola Glass to Exit BoF
  • Susie Mulder Named Global Brand President for Timberland BoF
  • Capri Holdings Appoints Alejandro Martinez-Galindo Chief Information Officer BoF


  • Who Will Be Fashion’s First Clubhouse Star? BoF