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Top 7: The Stories Making News Around the Web

Stories from around the web showcase how the Olympics proves to be a testing ground for new tech, the cost of reverse logistics catches up with LL Bean and e-commerce giants flex their might—for Amazon that means pressuring Whole Foods suppliers while Alibaba’s Tmall supports speed to market and sales.

Far from just a platform from which to sell online, Tmall is also a valuable production resource, allowing brands to go from design to sales in as little as two weeks, according to Glossy. And once they’re up, the site’s data mining provides unparalleled marketing benefits.

(Related on SJ: Shrinking Margins Send Alibaba Valuation Down by $30B)

In reaction to a growing number of instances that violate the spirit of its policy, LL Bean last week announced it has updated its returns procedure to protect its profits. The retailer now gives shoppers up to a year to bring back goods with proof of purchase for a replacement or refund, a move that The New York Times said has upset some customers.

(Related on SJ: Here Come the Returns—And These Are the Logistics Issues and Costs That Will Come With Them)

The Olympics may be heating up but temperatures in South Korea are frigid. Scientific American has the inside track on how athletes are staying warm with technology including fabric that locks in body heat and heat-conducting metallic ink.

(Related on SJ: Burton Unites Creativity with Performance in Canadian Team Jackets Featuring DuPont™ Sorona®)

As she steps down as CEO of Neiman Marcus, Dallas News profiles Karen Katz, whose career at the upscale retailer spanned 33 years. She talks bringing women into the executive ranks, feeding consumers’ wants and desires and her next act.

(Related on SJ: Neiman Marcus Names Ralph Lauren Exec New CEO)

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The other shoe is dropping for Whole Foods. Amazon’s acquisition of the specialty grocer over the summer sparked tons of speculation but not much had changed in stores since then. Now The Wall Street Journal says the online giant is increasing the cost of stocking goods in the highest profile spots and demanding suppliers offer deeper discounts for the privilege.

(Related on SJ: Walmart Prioritizes Profits Over Low Costs Online)

Ahead of Caroline Herrera’s final show as creative director for her eponymous label, she interviewed with The New York Times about the company’s succession plan, the “strange way” women dress now and her new role as brand ambassador.

(Read on SJ: Mansell to Retire Next Year, Kohl’s Names Incoming CEO, President)

Despite strong economic indicators, Bloomberg says shoppers are spending less on apparel. It’s a result, the publication said, of the causal nature of our work environments, the easy access to discounted goods and the rise of influencers. It shares an infographic depicting where funds are being diverted.

(Read on SJ: Retail Apparel Prices Fell in December and 2017, as Overall CPI Rose)