Archives: Retail

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The campaign against chains – formula retail in San Francisco

“Formula retail” has been a popular buzz phrase in San Francisco this year, as restrictions over formula retail (more commonly known as chain stores) have thwarted such businesses as American Apparel,Chipotle and Jack Spade from opening locations in certain areas of the city. Backlash against chain stores is not a new phenomenon.  Between 1980 and 2000, for … Continue Reading

Swiss competition commission closes antitrust investigation into cosmetic products distribution

On 21 October 2013, the Swiss competition authority (WEKO) decided to close its antitrust probe into the distribution of cosmetic products through beauty institutes.  In the course of its investigation, the competition authority identified a number of vertical restraints in the distribution agreements concluded between the manufacturers of the cosmetic products and the beauty institutes … Continue Reading

Germany: No dual pricing between online and off-line dealers

On 28 November 2013, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) announced that Gardena, a German-based manufacturer of gardening tools, had made a commitment to not discriminate between online and off-line dealers in its rebate policy. The FCO opened a case against Gardena after receiving complaints from Gardena’s online dealers alleging that its new rebate system … Continue Reading

Fashion label fined after TV broadcast alleges resale price maintenance – yet another RPM case from Denmark

So far this year Miele, SH White Goods and Unilever have fallen foul of Denmark’s Competition and Consumer Authority’s (“DCCA”) enforcement efforts against retail price maintenance (RPM).  On October 30, 2013, fashion brand Vila joined them.  Vila and the DCCA reached a DKK 1.6 million settlement after finding that Vila infringed Section 6 of the Danish … Continue Reading

Luxury in Lagos: Nigeria embraces extravagance

Nigeria is often said to be the African country with the highest growth potential along with Angola.  It is the continent’s most populous country (with over 168 million people) and, despite 50% of the population living in poverty, there are still over 60 million who are upwardly mobile in society — a number that exceeds … Continue Reading

New simplified UK visa rules may mean increased luxury spending by Chinese tourists

While in China earlier this month, George Osborne, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a new pilot scheme to simplify the process by which Chinese citizens apply for UK tourist visas. The current, burdensome requirements for Chinese citizens to apply for a UK visa include supplying biometric information, fees of up to £200 (higher … Continue Reading

Consumer profiling: regulators re-affirm the importance of adopting a “privacy by design” approach

Marketers, data brokers and other businesses have been collecting information about consumers’ online preferences since the advent of e-commerce.   The growing use of large-scale information management and analytics technologies (also known as “big data”) has enabled organizations to combine ever larger and numerous datasets in their quest to extract meaning from the hoards of customer … Continue Reading

The Jewelry Cartel – An illustration of China’s Activism against Resale Price Maintenance

In August 2013, China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”), fined five domestic jewelers and a trade association after finding that they had fixed prices for their gold and platinum products. According to the NDRC, the Shanghai Gold and Jewelry Trade Association (“the Trade Association”) and some of its main members … Continue Reading

Abercrombie and Fitch under investigation in France over potentially discriminatory recruitment policies

Abercrombie and Fitch – renowned for its attractive shirtless model hosts greeting customers at store entrances – is currently under investigation by the French human rights watchdog (Defenseur des Droits) over claims that it hires employees based solely on their good looks. The watchdog is concerned that Abercrombie’s recruitment methods are based on discriminatory criteria … Continue Reading

Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy technology — a new tool to combat counterfeiting?

Counterfeiters are constantly coming up with new and clever ways to produce high quality copies of fashion and luxury products.  Many copies can’t be distinguished from the original products without authentication features.  Brands are increasingly using RFID tags and other ways to help consumers and customs officials identify what’s real and what’s fake.  The latest … Continue Reading

Model working conditions? UK retailers sign up to Equity’s 10 point code for the treatment of models

Earlier this week, CovBrands blogged about prospective changes to New York law, which would give increased protection to models under the age of 18. In the UK, young models are protected by regulations that apply to child performers under age 16. The regulations require a special licence to hire a child to participate in any … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Rihanna successfully sues Topshop for using her image on t-shirts

You may remember that, back in May, CovBrands reported that Rihanna was suing Topshop for selling a t-shirt, which bore her image, without her consent.  The judgment is in and the High Court has ruled that Topshop is liable on the grounds of passing off. However, the court did not take the opportunity to introduce … Continue Reading

Luxury watch pricing under Polish antitrust watchdog’s microscope

Scrutiny of retail pricing of luxury goods appears to continue to be a priority of European competition authorities.  The latest example is the Polish Competition Authority’s ongoing probe into the luxury watch sector. The probe became public through dawn raids, and targets three Polish importers of branded watches: The Swatch Group Poland; Przedsiębiorstwo Handlowo–Usługowe Jubiler; … Continue Reading

The kids are alright: luxury brands embrace children’s apparel lines

Suri Cruise, Harper and Romeo Beckham, and Apple and Moses Martin are just some of the names on Vanity Fair’s latest top ten best dressed list.  If you have not heard these names, you have likely heard of their famous parents (Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, Victoria and David Beckham, and Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris … Continue Reading

Resale price maintenance and vertical price-fixing agreements in the French luxury perfumes sector

Last month the highest French court – the Cour de cassation – upheld a fine of more than € 40 million imposed on 13 luxury perfume manufacturers (including Chanel and Guerlain) and three giant retailers on the French market (Marionnaud, Séphora and Nocibé) for price fixing.  The Cour de cassation confirmed the finding of an … Continue Reading

London Collections: Men

The British Fashion Council’s fashion week focused on men only, London Collections: Men, kicked off yesterday in London (according to a recent study by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the birthplace of men’s luxury fashion).  The men’s spring/summer 2014 collection is shown over three days.  Despite only debuting in June of last year, the London … Continue Reading

Are image rights set to be introduced by the English High Court this summer?

Rihanna is suing Topshop for allegedly selling a t-shirt, which bears her image, without her consent.  The t-shirt in question, which was on sale in Topshop stores in the UK at the end of 2012, had an image of Rihanna’s face from her “We Found Love” music video, reports WWD. The case will be heard … Continue Reading

The Rise of E-Commerce in China: What Does it Mean for Premium Brands?

The CovBrands team in Beijing relies on e-commerce for day-to-day shopping.  With clothes, office supplies, electronics, and even groceries only a click away and often delivered the same day, we almost never need to set foot in a physical store.   And we are not alone.  In China, e-commerce is growing quickly, generating $190 billion in … Continue Reading

Selling branded goods at “fire sale” prices: there’s insurance for that?

Clothing retailers, particularly in these economic conditions, often have to steeply mark down prices in order to move merchandise.  When a retailer does so, the brand may see the re-pricing as a degradation of its name.  If the brand brings a lawsuit against the retailer over the fire sale prices, does the retailer’s insurer have … Continue Reading

Transparency in the apparel industry: H&M publishes list of suppliers

Times are changing in the apparel industry.  With consumers becoming increasingly aware of how and on what they spend their money and the media focusing on issues like the garment workers’ strike in Bangladesh, it is becoming crucial for companies to understand who is making their products, and the conditions in which they are manufactured. … Continue Reading

Tajani invites fashion CEOs to Brussels

The European fashion and luxury brands industry accounts for 10% of all European exports. In recognition of Europe’s position as a global leader in the industry, the European Commission’s Vice President, Antonio Tajani, will be meeting with the CEOs of some of Europe’s largest fashion companies today to discuss plans for reinforcing the growth and … Continue Reading