Weekly Link Roundup

Sale styles are an extra 50% to 60% off with code FLASH75 at J. Crew until the end of the day. This is a sale worth browsing, as hundreds of new styles were recently discounted, including the Double-Breasted Sweater-Blazer (still available in two colorways and all sizes online). My picks: Fair Isle Turtleneck Sweater, Striped Blanket Scarf With Fringe, Button-Detail Crewneck Sweater, Puff-Sleeve Peasant Mini Dress, and Leopard-Print Beanie in Supersoft Yarn.

Gap Backs Away From Old Navy Split (The Wall Street Journal): ”Gap said … that splitting the companies would have been too expensive and difficult to achieve. Weaker results also pushed the struggling company to reverse course … Meanwhile, Gap said the head of its flagship brand was leaving, a few months after the board ousted the company’s chief executive … Sales at Old Navy stores open at least a year fell for the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, after rising for most of 2018 … The company said … that it anticipates full-year sales will fall less than it previously expected. It also raised its earnings guidance, after lowering estimates this fall … Gap Inc.’s shares are down about 25% over the past year.“

Barneys Workers Feel Used as They March Store Toward Death (The New York Times): Since November, employees at Barneys’s flagship at Madison Avenue and 61st Street have been in limbo, lacking basic information about the store’s closing date, severance pay and their benefits … Barneys added that it did not expect the firm liquidating the remaining seven stores, B. Riley Financial’s Great American Group, to hit sales targets of at least $303 million, which would have resulted in an infusion to the severance fund of at least $2 million … Before the liquidation started, Barneys employed about 2,300 people, 2,100 of them full time. The remaining seven stores, according to the company, are expected to close on or before Feb. 29, while the restaurant Freds will most likely close by Jan. 31 … Despite a desperate search for alternatives, Barneys was sold in two parts in a $271 million deal last October. Its intellectual property went to the licensing firm Authentic Brands Group while its assets were bought by B. Riley. Store closing sales quickly started at the five full-price Barneys stores, two outlets and online.

In Paris, Ecommerce Warehouses Get a Chic Makeover (Wired): “Some 95 percent of Parisians ordered a non-food item online in 2017 … more than one in two online shoppers … want their stuff shipped right to their doorsteps … Which presents quite a problem for the companies charged with getting it there … since 2013, Paris has been developing ‘logistics hotels’—smaller mixed-use developments used for delivery logistics, located in residential neighborhoods instead of the industrial urban fringe. The most unique ‘hotel,’ called Chapelle International, opened in April 2018, on top of an abandoned railway in the trendy 18th arrondissement in the city’s northern section … The ‘hotel’ is actually a 484,000-square-foot mixed-use development, with three stories of floorspace for the entry, organization, and exit of parcels. But it also hosts a data center, offices, sports facilities like tennis courts, and an urban farm. The project was developed by French firm Sogaris, which is owned by the city of Paris but operated as a private company.”

♥ Random sale finds: A.L.C. Greer Dolman-Sleeve Dress, Claudie Pierlot Retro Crepe and Lace Mini Dress, Tory Burch Gigi Leather Sandals, Burberry Vintage Check Bag, Calvin Klein Glydia Suede Boots (in calf leather here), Joie Wool & Cashmere Puff Sleeve Sweater, CC Corso Como Jullia Flats, Amanda Uprichard Iris Jumpsuit, Calvin Klein Faux-Suede Sheath Dress, Julie Brown Sweaterdress, Splendid Callen Leather Bootie, Soia & Kyo Grey Belted Coat, and FitFlop Allegro Ballet Flats.

The Magical Thinking of “The Goop Lab” (The New Yorker): “What does Goop sell? … its real offering is something more ineffable: what Paltrow calls … ‘optimization of self’ … The rampant spread of wellness culture, dusted with feminist messaging, answers real needs sometimes simply by asserting that they’re legitimate. You are overworked, your skin is sallow, your humors are out of whack. Goop, at its core a sophisticated advertising apparatus, often disseminates useful advice; it also has a way of making any advice look potentially useful … ‘The Goop Lab,’ lowbrow TV with high production values, is the most unsettling kind of sponcon—the soulful kind.”

I Quit My Elaborate Skin Care Routine (The New York Times): “… what had begun as an endeavor that brought me some materialistic joy somehow evolved into a personal Olympics of overcompensation, in which my new and improved self … was ready to obliterate the memory of who I was before.”

Asics Runs Into Trouble as Athletes Opt for Nike’s Super-Shoe (Bloomberg): “… Japanese shoemakers Asics Corp. and Mizuno Corp. … are [in] trouble. Shares in the shoemakers slid in Tokyo Monday after … The overwhelming majority of this year’s contestants — more than 84% — ran wearing Nike’s Vaporfly Next% sneakers … That included the winning team … Nike historically owes much of its success to Asics, having been founded in the 1960s by Phil Knight to distribute shoes made by Onitsuka Tiger, the company that went on to become Asics.”

Ted Baker’s Balance Sheet Blunder Worsens (The Business of Fashion): “The company … said the value of stock on its balance sheet was overstated by £58 million ($76 million) as of January 26, 2019, more than double its preliminary estimate of up to £25 million … Ted Baker shares have lost more than 80 percent of their value since December 2018 … The accounting scandal comes as Britain’s store groups struggle with subdued consumer spending and a switch to more shopping online.”

America Is Overrun With Bathrooms (The Atlantic): “America’s love affair with private washrooms emerges from the country’s most obvious gift—an abundance of land and an eagerness to develop it. The typical new single-family house in the U.S. is twice the size of the average urban or suburban dwelling in the European Union—more than 2,000 square feet versus approximately 1,000 square feet … American bathrooms haven’t grown only in number. As the square footage per person in a new single-family home doubled from the 1970s to the 2010s, so too did the typical size of a bathroom—from 35 square feet to 70.”

♥ Until Wednesday, take up to $250 at Saks with code SHOPSF: take $50 off purchases over $250; $100 off purchase over $450; $175 off purchases over $750; or $250 off purchases of $1000. Shipping is free on all orders.

How Under Armour Lost Its Edge (The New York Times): “… Under Armour has faltered, hurt by slumping sales and unflattering revelations about its corporate culture. It is grasping for a hold in the fiercely competitive sports apparel market even as it undergoes the biggest management shift in its history … revenue growth has slumped, increasing less than 1 percent in the first nine months of last year. The company’s stock price has collapsed to around $21 a share from a high of $51 in 2015. Worse, the brand finds itself out of step with consumer taste … There is no one cause of Under Armour’s struggles … a company that tried to do too much too fast. It expanded into sports in which it had little expertise and failed to articulate a strategy for its expensive tech acquisitions. It eschewed the athleisure trend … and struggled to translate its brand to an international audience.”

The Two Words That Will Help Get an Airline Upgrade Over the Phone (Bloomberg): “… call reservations and drop the name ‘revenue management.’ The reason is that revenue management’s job is to make sure a flight is profitable … Not everyone knows that this department exists, and by mentioning it you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released.”

The Awkward Heirloom: No One Wants Grandma’s Fur Coat (The Wall Street Journal): “Families with vintage fur coats, jackets, stoles and hats are grappling with a generational divide over an issue also roiling fashion and politics … Some fur owners are flummoxed when young relatives reject a beloved coat or stole as tacky or out of step with modern mores and fashion … Many furs are freighted with family history, especially garments earned by individuals who had to strive for them.”

Fairway and What We Mourn in a Store (The New Yorker): “Fairway is one of those odd original New York institutions that grew up organically, on the sidewalk … The store, with its proudly garish packaging and bags and an elevator that bore a sign boasting of its bad functioning, is stuffed with the usual supermarket staples, but it also offers some of the finest of fine things in the city … Fairway, for all the precious things it sold … was the least precious place on the planet … The democratic energy of the place was so extraordinary that someone coming home to New York from a place like, say, Paris … would be knocked sideways by the coexistence of those seemingly contradictory principles … The agonies of Fairway are almost too neatly a lesson for our time … The bankruptcy seems likely to cost the employees far more than it will the investors—not to mention the customers.”

The Second-Biggest Diamond in History Has a New Owner (The New York Times): “… the 1,758-carat Sewelo … was revealed with great fanfare last April, named in July and then largely disappeared from view. Now it has resurfaced with a new owner … Louis Vuitton … LVMH is out not just to compete, but to utterly dominate the high jewelry market.”

♥ Recently purchased: Ann Taylor Double Breasted Blouse (ordered in both colorways!), Free People Le Femme Top, Maje Button Argyle Skirt, Topshop Double Breasted Blazer, Nike Cropped Fleece Sweatshirt, and Rebecca Taylor Pointelle Knit & Lace Dress.

Have a great week, everyone!

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