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Stories from Around the Web: Amazon’s Fashion Cred, Uniqlo’s Plan of Attack, Lyons’ Legacy and More

Join Theory, Google, H&M, McKinsey, Foot Locker, Lafayette 148, LL Bean, the Retail Prophet and more at Sourcing Journal’s Virtual Sourcing Summit, R/Evolution: Overhauling Fashion’s Outmoded Supply Chain, Oct 14 & 15.

This week the Internet was buzzing about retail mavericks and icons and the relative benefits of each, ways that brands are skirting traditional stores and how future tax laws might impact the industry.

States are missing out on revenue. Brick and mortar competitors are undercut. But how would marketplaces like eBay & Amazon handle the logistics of collecting sales tax on goods from third-party sellers? According to The Wall Street Journal, we may soon find out, as some states are leading the push for it.

(Related on SJ: Simplified Online Sales Tax Proposal Won’t Hurt Amazon)

Fighting against fierce retail headwinds, Uniqlo revamps its U.S. strategy with plans to scrap suburban mall locations in favor of more urban-based stores. The question is will Americans ever get the minimalistic yet functional aesthetic? CNBC says the company is pinning its hope on a new ad campaign to help deliver its quality-first message.

(Related on SJ: Uniqlo Bets on a Zara-like Model)

Unlike American youngsters, Chinese millennials are often debt free and still provided for by their parents. So goes the advantages of a nation of only children. Forbes takes a look at the other reasons China’s young—and connected—adults are sought-after spenders.

(Related on SJ: NPD: Retailers Still Aspirational But Consumers Have Moved On)

Forget sell-throughs, if today’s upstart designers sell wholesale at all it’s only to elevate their brands. The real sales—and PR—happen via Instagram. With no middleman to cut in, the margins are more lucrative. But Bloomberg explained the reason why these brands bother with retail at all.

(Related on SJ: Socially-Savvy Consumers Prioritize Trust in Retailer Relationships)

The New York Times takes a closer look at Edward Lampert, whose ESL Investments has been propping up the declining Sears, chronicling his rise as a Wall Street wunderkind and his ties to current U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to his initial idea to combine the fates of Sears and Kmart and the questions that now surround Sears Holdings.

(Related on SJ: Vendors Scale Back Following Sears News; Analysts Say Bankruptcy is Next)

Built to revitalize downtown neighborhoods, the country’s urban malls were too often ill conceived. Instead of drawing shoppers, they stood empty and dying for years. Now, independent of the other challenges retail at large is facing, those enclosed shopping centers are finding new life through redevelopment. Read about how cities are reclaiming blocks that have been monuments to wrongheaded thinking.

(Related on SJ: Don’t Write That Mall Obit)

What would a retail financial report be without same store sales? Steven Dennis argues more accurate. Read about why this retail consultant says in the age of e-commerce comp store numbers only tell part of the story, and as a result, could be leading businesses to make bad choices.

(Related on SJ: Why Retailers Are Racing Toward Supply Chain Tune-Ups)

Generally speaking, footwear and apparel companies have staunchly opposed the idea of the border adjustment tax, arguing that for their businesses—which import more than 90 percent of goods sold in the U.S.—it will drive up prices for consumers. Meanwhile industries on the other side of the debate are focused on the promise of lower corporate taxes. This Forbes article uses Under Armour as an example to illustrate how a company can both win and lose with the BAT.

(Related on SJ: Retailers Lobby Congress, the Public Over Border Adjustment Tax)

As Uber, Under Armour and the Trump brands have found lately, consumers—aided (and in some cases egged on) by social media—are voting with their wallets more than ever. So, does your business, as this Fast Company article suggests, have to pick a side in political and social debates? Read on to find the affect boycotts have on both sales and investors.

(Related on SJ: Sears Responds to Trump Flap, Ivanka’s Nordstrom Sales Revealed)

This piece in Racked chronicles Jeff Bezos’ fashion takeover plan. From his first wrong-footed step into the Met Gala through today’s slate of branded apparel sold on the site and Amazon’s private label launches. The article also delves into why fashion brands, which were initially hesitant at best to sell on the site, are now coming around. Read on to find out who referred to Amazon as “the evil empire.”

(Related on SJ: Amazon Taps Into US Lingerie Market With Private Label)

This New York Times article takes a look at the Jenna Lyons era at J. Crew and ponders whether her departure should have come sooner given the litany of issues the retailer is currently facing. In her heyday, Lyons was definitely the face of the brand and its muse, pushing it in a more fashion-oriented and quirky direction than its preppy roots—or market tier—might have suggested. But did she take it too far?

(Related on SJ: J. Crew Can’t Afford to Keep its Intellectual Property Protected, Say Lenders)

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