Summary of News in 2021 (Part 1)

Dear Readers,

As it is customary at TextileFuture to present after the holidays a summary of some selected important news that occured during the time we did not publish daily. We bring these news to you in four parts. Here is the start with the first part, organised for you in alphabetical order.


Ascend purchases Eurostar Engineering Plastics

Acquisition will expand Ascend’s flame-retardant portfolio and European footprint.

Ascend Performance Materials has purchased Eurostar Engineering Plastics, a France-based compounder with a broad portfolio of flame-retardant engineered plastics and expertise in halogen-free formulations.

“Eurostar’s experience in compounded polyamides fits well within our own portfolio and manufacturing capabilities,” said John Saunders, Ascend’s vice president for Europe. “Their Starflam® materials are enabling the transitions to clean energy and transportation, and smarter devices.”

Last year, Ascend acquired the Italian firms Poliblend and Esseti Plast, as well as a compounding facility in China.

“We are following through on our strategy of becoming a more global, diversified and reliable supplier to our customers,” said Phil McDivitt, Ascend’s president and CEO. “While the past 10 months have been challenging, we have remained focused on providing our customers with the solutions and support they need to continue growing.”

Ascend, the world’s largest fully integrated producer of polyamide 66 resin, gains a full portfolio of UL yellow card certified flame-retardant, as well as water contact and thermally conductive, engineered plastics with the purchase. The company has said these materials will play an integral role in e-mobility, as well as in smart appliances, industrial automation and consumer electronics.

“Combining our portfolio and application development expertise with Eurostar’s portfolio immediately provides our customers with a bigger toolchest to produce safer, more reliable parts at higher and more constant voltage loads,” said Steve Manning, Ascend’s senior director for engineered plastics. “Across sectors we are seeing increased demand for higher performance materials and Eurostar’s portfolio already meets not only today’s technical specifications, but also many of tomorrow’s.”

Neither company disclosed the cost of the purchase.

Ascend Performance Materials makes high-performance materials for everyday essentials and new technologies. Our focus is on improving quality of life and inspiring a better tomorrow through innovation. Based in Houston, Texas, and with regional offices in Shanghai, Brussels and Detroit, we are a fully integrated material solutions provider with nine global manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe and China. Our 2600-person global workforce makes the plastics, fabrics, fibers and chemicals used to make safer vehicles, cleaner energy, better medical devices, smarter appliances and longer-lasting apparel and consumer goods. We are committed to safety, sustainability and the success of our customers and our communities.


AATCC EBSCO Training: Textile Technology Complete

Did you know AATCC members receive free access to the EBSCO Textile Technology Complete database? This database covers the scientific and technological aspects of textile production and processing. Formerly the Institute of Textile Technology’s Textile Technology Digest, this resource traces the body of knowledge in textile science and technology back to the early 20th century. Learn more about the upcoming EBSCO training on January 12th, 2021 at Members receive reduced rates!

Fit Technology: Balancing Shareholder and Stakeholder Value

Register now for Fit Technology: Balancing Shareholder and Stakeholder Value with Jessica Couch, January 27th, 2021, at 11am EST. This presentation will explore fit based technology and strategies, conventional and unconventional fit solutions addressing fit as a component of measurements and consumer preference, and the integration of adjacent technologies such as tagging, heat sensor camera, RFID, NFC, AI and ML.

Overview of Colour and Colourants for Textiles

Color is ubiquitous and can be produced for aesthetic as well as functional purposes.  Both natural and synthetic colorants can be used to apply color to a variety of materials including textiles, foods, and hair. Learn more about this topic with Tova Williams, Ph.D., on February 18th, 2021, 11am EST.

AATCC EBSCO Training: Textile Technology Complete

Did you know AATCC members receive free access to the EBSCO Textile Technology Complete database? This database covers the scientific and technological aspects of textile production and processing. Formerly the Institute of Textile Technology’s Textile Technology Digest, this resource traces the body of knowledge in textile science and technology back to the early 20th century. Learn more about the upcoming EBSCO training on January 12th, 2021 at Members receive reduced rates!

Fit Technology: Balancing Shareholder and Stakeholder Value

Register now for Fit Technology: Balancing Shareholder and Stakeholder Value with Jessica Couch, January 27th, 2021, at 11am EST. This presentation will explore fit based technology and strategies, conventional and unconventional fit solutions addressing fit as a component of measurements and consumer preference, and the integration of adjacent technologies such as tagging, heat sensor camera, RFID, NFC, AI and ML.

Overview of Colour and Colourants for Textiles

Colour is ubiquitous and can be produced for aesthetic as well as functional purposes.  Both natural and synthetic colorants can be used to apply color to a variety of materials including textiles, foods, and hair. Learn more about this topic with Tova Williams, Ph.D., on February 18th, 2021, 11am EST.

PPE Series

AATCC members receive free access to this special series. Learn about the overlap between textiles and COVID-19 with industry experts – explore PPE test methods, research, equipment, and more!


Founder of Pause Well-Aging, Rochelle Weitzner, Wins FGI Rising Star Award

Pause Well-Aging founder Rochelle Weitzner is the winner of the Beauty Entrepreneur award from the Fashion Group International (FGI), receiving the honor at yesterday’s 24th annual Rising Stars Awards ceremony, held virtually. Each year, the Rising Star awards celebrate emerging brands with creative, innovative visions who’ve been in business between one to six years.

In bestowing this award upon Weitzner, FGI acknowledges and celebrates a historically ignored consumer: menopausal women. Weitzner’s creation of Pause Well-Aging, a company dedicated to the skin-care needs of women in the three stages of menopause, was a barrier-breaking endeavor. The award is a wake-up call to the beauty industry: Investing in menopause can be sexy and profitable.

“It is a huge honor to win this award,” says Weitzner. “This award is a validation of the new category that we created in beauty: Menopause Beauty. This award is validation that menopause and beauty can go together. This award is validation that beauty gets better with age. This award is validation that women 45+ cannot and should not be ignored. The taboo of menopause must be broken – and we are working very hard to do just that.”

Pause Well-Aging provides products to alleviate the pain points associated with menopause. Pause addresses skin health and wellness from the outside in through their topical products as well as inside out with their patented FDA registered class 1 medical device called the Fascia Stimulating Tool. Beyond outstanding products, Pause has a broader mission to spark the conversation and offer a smart, safe place for women to share and learn as they experience menopause. All Pause formulations are clean, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, cruelty-free and free from hormones.

Rochelle Weitzner is a seasoned C-suite executive and beauty industry veteran. Prior to founding Pause, she was CEO of Erno Laszlo, reimagining the 90-year old brand, modernising the product range through her deep involvement in product development and expanding its market to successfully position the company for private equity sale in August 2016. As CFO at Laura Mercier Cosmetics and RéVive Skincare, she drove a multi-department reorganisation that helped quadruple revenues, improving free cash flow by USD 11.5 million over a two-year period and catalysing record earnings. Before joining the beauty industry, Rochelle led financial strategy for several USD 1+ billion subsidiaries of The International Paper Company.

Fashion Group International

Founded in 1930 by 17 accomplished women, Fashion Group is a global, non-profit association whose mission is to provide resources, connections and career support for 5000 members. Fashion Group is an essential industry resource to connect members to information, inspiration, education, events, industry leaders, global resources, historic archives, established professionals, new talent, innovators, tastemakers and award winners, and most importantly each other.

Seoul Design Foundation awards 7 teams with “DDP Best Design Award” at 2020 DDP Design Fair

  • Korea’s first online business launching fair records 200000 visitors
  • Became Korea’s representative online platform that showcases Korea’s design industry with products and stories of Korean designers and small business owners
  • Seven teams were selected from 103 participants of 2020 DDP Design Fair via fair means of evaluation including online voting and professional appraisal.
  • The awarded teams will receive grants for mass production and benefits to enter the DDP store; revitalisation of the industry is expected.
  • Opening of English website is expected to strengthen its role in international promotion
  • 2021 DDP Design Fair will be held and ready for application

On 12/22, Seoul Design Foundation announced that it has awarded the “DDP Best Design award” to 7 teams from 103 participants at ‘DDP Design Fair’.

During the pandemic, DDP Design Fair, a design business launching show that showcases new products developed by small manufacturing businesses and designers, was held online. Since its opening, it has accumulated more than 200000 visits.

“DDP Design Fair,” an online exhibition platform that introduces stories and products of Korean designers and small business owners, was opened on November 20, 2020.

The fair will be available for entire year and provide the newest design trend as well as how one product is made via synergistic collaboration.

As the only Korean platform that exhibits current design ecosystem in Korea, its significance lies in the fact that it listens to the stories of designers and manufacturers.

The English website will promote the design and production capacity of Korea and the participants.

Seven items were awarded with DDP Best Design Award. Representatives from famous boutiques and product design professionals participated in the evaluation, and the result of online voting was also reflected.

The 7 winners have not only outstanding designs but also marketability and usability achieved.

The 7 winners will be awarded with 5 million KRW for mass production and the opportunity to enter the DDP store.

“The products can be mass produced right away”, said Mr. Park from Rooming. “It proved competitiveness of small/medium manufacturing business can improve via continuous collaboration with designers,” commented Mr. Han from Woofer design.

The fair will be held in 2021 and feature more diverse collaboration of designers and manufacturer in Seoul. Moreover, it will coordinate with renowned international fairs to promoter Korean designers and manufacturers internationally and to position itself as a global fair that represents Korea.


The record attempt by several HOKA athletes worldwide will showcase the latest in carbon fibre-plated footwear innovation from the brand

The record attempt by several HOKA athletes worldwide will showcase the latest in carbon fibre-plated footwear innovation from the brand.

HOKA ONE ONE®, a division of Deckers Brands (NYSE: DECK) announces the launch of the Carbon X 2, a lightweight and propulsive shoe designed to help all athletes break their own records. To celebrate this new footwear innovation, HOKA will host successive 100K world record attempts in the United States and Japan by several of its athletes on January 23, titled Project Carbon X 2.

The Carbon X 2 features a carbon fibre plate embedded in its midsole and is the successor to the original Carbon X, launched in May 2019. The Carbon X franchise brings the technology of carbon fibre plates, which are designed to provide a smooth and propulsive ride through the gait cycle for an efficient stride over many miles, in an inherently stable and supportive package capable of withstanding training miles in addition to races. The Carbon X 2 features a PROFLY™ midsole and a rubberized EVA outside. Constructed with some of HOKA’s softest, lightest foams to date, it is designed to provide a harmonious blend of soft protection and energetic response from the shoe. With an aggressive Meta-Rocker geometry and the Carbon Fibre plate, the Carbon X 2 midsole is designed to propel athletes forward and provide an up-tempo training and racing shoe capable of going the distance – fast. Compared to its predecessor, the Carbon X features a simplified upper material for a lightweight and breathable fit, as well as a bonded tongue for a more secure wrap of the foot. It weighs 8.4 ounces (M9) and has a 5-milimeter heel-to-toe drop. MSRP: USD 180.

To celebrate the launch of this newest innovation, HOKA announces Project Carbon X 2: an attempt to break the 100K world record by HOKA athletes around the world wearing the Carbon X 2. Headlined by HOKA US athletes Jim Walmsley and Camille Herron; HOKA EMEA athletes Elov Olsson and Caitriona Jennings; and HOKA Japan athletes Aiko Kanematsu and Yoshiki Otsuka, over three dozen HOKA global athletes will successively attempt the record from Chiba, Japan and the Phoenix, Arizona area at 7AM JST and 7AM MST, respectively, on January 23, with Olsson and Jennings joining the US athletes in Arizona. The U.S. event will be livestreamed for free at and the Japan event will be livestreamed for free at The current men’s 100K world record is 6:09:14 – 5 minutes, 56.5 seconds-per-mile pace for 62.2 miles – set by Japan’s Nao Kazami in 2018; the women’s mark is 6:33:11, set by Japan’s Tomoe Abe in 2000.

“At HOKA, we have grown into the brand we are today by setting lofty goals, not compromising, and taking a bold and unexpected approach to meet those ends,” says Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing at HOKA ONE ONE. “Perhaps no shoe embodies that spirit better than the Carbon X 2 – designed without compromise to offer the very best in performance innovation to all athletes, empowering them to fly no matter their goals – and perhaps no event embodies it better than Project Carbon X 2: a chance for some of our elite athletes to try and go farther and faster than we once thought possible.”

The Carbon X 2 is available today on and at select retailers. Project Carbon X 2 will be livestreamed from the Phoenix, Arizona area starting at 7AM MST on January 23 at; and from Chiba, Japan at 2PM PST on January 22 (7AM local time January 23) at

In accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, all athletes and event personnel must follow rigorous pre-event testing and on-site safety protocols to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in Project Carbon X 2, as well as the health and safety of the host community.

HOKA ONE ONE® is one of the fastest-growing performance footwear and apparel brands in history. Conceived in the mountains, HOKA footwear delivers an unprecedented combination of enhanced cushioning and support for a uniquely smooth ride. Every day, HOKA pushes the innovation and design of its footwear and apparel by teaming up with a deep roster of world champions, taste makers and everyday athletes. From finish lines to everyday life, HOKA fans love the brand for its bold and unexpected approach, and its belief in the power of humanity to create change for a better world. HOKA empowers a world of athletes to fly over the Earth. For more information, visit  

Deckers Brands is a global leader in designing, marketing and distributing innovative footwear, apparel and accessories developed for both everyday casual lifestyle use and high performance activities. The Company’s portfolio of brands includes UGG®, KOOLABURRA®, HOKA ONE ONE®, Teva®, and Sanuk®. Deckers Brands products are sold in more than 50 countries and territories through select department and specialty stores, Company-owned and operated retail stores, and select online stores, including Company-owned websites. Deckers Brands has over 40 years of history building niche footwear brands into lifestyle market leaders attracting millions of loyal consumers globally. 


Lung Victory Carpet to expand exports in 2021

PT. Lung Victory Carpet was established in 1994 and started its journey from scratch with a small hand tuft rug manufacturing unit, within 25 years we are grown as a largest integrated carpet manufacturer in Indonesia equipped with its own fibre to yarn and dyeing facility.

Interview with Mr Madan Bhatt – General Manager at PT. LUNG VICTORY CARPET

By guest authors from Kohan Textile Journal

Please let us know more details about Lung Victory Carpet company, history and success story?

We are producing high-quality carpets and has been accepted by customers such as star hotels, apartments, offices, airport, high-rise residence and villas as well as other public facilities that emphasize the feeling of elegance, luxury and of course provide constant comfort.

In 2012, PT. Lung Victory Carpet expanded its wings and added several technologies to support buyer’s need, modern machines like CLM cut-loop machine and Robot tuft high technology from Sweden for manufacturing most advance, best quality and design products.

Which kind of Carpet and flooring do you produce in Lung Victory?

We produce a wide range of products with affordable for the mass market. Luxury carpets, premium and exclusive range for segmented and concentrated market such as Axminster broadloom wall to wall carpet, Wilton carpet, hand-tufted rugs, Robo tufted carpet, knotted carpet, bath mat, doormat, prayer mat, artificial grass, wool carpet yarn and fire retardant fabric.

Lung Carpet is a Creative Design Custom Carpet manufacturer, how you follow carpet and flooring market trends and how to select your carpet designs?

We identify a trend using various forms of technical analysis, including market reports, price action, business intelligence reports and government’s regulations, till 2019 we were manufacturing contract and bespoke, looking forward to future plan we have registered our own trademark and soon we will start designing and manufacturing our own brands.

How many percent of your products use in Indonesia domestic market and how many percent export to international markets? Tell us more about your export destinations.

Till 2019 year-end, we were mainly focused on the domestic market. Since 2020 even in pandemic time company started Axminster carpet and wool carpet yarn export to Australia and we will keep export our product to the global market.

The export market will be our main focus, we are again going to expand our wings in 2021 and we have a huge plan for adding new technologies and new products for domestic and export market so we need a market for that and we expect middle east is a very good market for us to explore our brands.

How do you evaluate Carpet industry in Indonesia?

Carpet demand has gone up in recent years, business volumes are massive. There are many carpet manufacturer in Indonesia however looking back to huge development in hospitality, residential and commercial sector, we look 20 % growth in the carpet industry in next 5 years and Lung Victory Carpet will be market leader.

COVID 19 shows us we should rely more on sustainability and green products, how we can improve

Sustainability in Carpet and flooring industry?

Carpets have a significantly lower impact on the environment and climate footprint compared to other plastic-based materials used in other industries. We can improve sustainability in the carpet and flooring industry by use of eco-friendly products, carpet recycling, less use of electricity in carpet cleaning and use of the bio-degradable product. at the end, we would like to thanks KOHAN TEXTILE JOURNAL for this interview and opportunity.


DSM and Clariter partner to pursue chemical recycling solution for Dyneema®-based end-products

Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, and Clariter, an international clean-tech company, today announced a strategic partnership to pursue a next-generation chemical recycling solution for products based on DSM’s Dyneema®, an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber. As a first step, sample products – including ropes, nets, and ballistic materials made with Dyneema® – were successfully converted at Clariter’s pilot plant in Poland, demonstrating the recyclability potential of Dyneema® and underlining the active commitment of DSM Protective Materials to shape a more sustainable world.

In line with its ambitious sustainability targets, and following the successful launch of bio-based Dyneema® (mass balance), DSM Protective Materials is actively pursuing reuse and recycling solutions for end-of-life Dyneema®-based products. To drive technical recycling solutions, DSM Protective Materials and Clariter partnered to test the feasibility of using Dyneema® as a feedstock in Clariter’s chemical recycling process. Sample products made with Dyneema® were used in Clariter’s tests at its pilot plant in Poland. The positive results confirm the technical viability of transforming Dyneema®-based end-products into high-value, industrial grade, product families: oils, waxes, and solvents via Clariter’s patented 3-step chemical recycling process. These can be further used as ingredients to manufacture new end- and consumer products.

Moving forward, DSM Protective Materials and Clariter will continue to drive this initiative to shape a more sustainable world. Specifically, building on the success of the lab-scale trial, Clariter has scheduled commercial-scale trials at its facility in South Africa for 2021, with the aim to use Dyneema®-derived feedstock in its full-scale European plants that will be built in the coming years. In addition, DSM will continue to actively explore the possibilities of reducing the environmental impact of Dyneema® across all product life stages.

Petra Koselka, Clariter Chief Operations Officer, said: “To stretch and explore boundaries of the next circular solution requires courage, foresight, and tenacity, which DSM has demonstrated with abundance. Looking at the logistics challenge to collect many tons of used marine ropes, nets, and ballistic materials is daunting. However, when an economical route presents itself, suddenly the next horizon seems within reach. We are pleased to work with DSM to perform R&D on what we have dubbed ‘exciting exotics’, and plan to use it as part of our raw materials in the full-scale plants we will build in Europe.”

Roeland Polet, President DSM Protective Materials, said: “Following our successful efforts to introduce bio-based Dyneema® (mass balance), these results mark the next important step on the circularity journey of DSM Protective Materials. Recyclability is key to us, our customers, and society at large and achieving it requires cross-value chain efforts. To this end, we’re looking forward to continue building our partnership with Clariter, and to continue using our science-based capabilities to deliver on our purpose of creating brighter lives for all.”

Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its products and solutions some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 23,000 employees. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information can be found at

Clariter has created a revolutionary chemical recycling (upcycling) process that provides a large-scale solution for the world’s plastic waste problem. The technology accepts the majority of plastic waste streams, and not only helps to clean the planet effectively but also creates a strongly profitable business opportunity. Rather than recycling plastic waste into intermediates which require further processing, Clariter transforms it into 3 industrial, ready-to-use product families: oils, waxes, and solvents. These pure fossil-fuel alternatives are used as ingredients to make over 1000 clean, everyday end- and consumer products. The footprint of Clariter’s process is net carbon negative and preferable to landfill, incineration and other pyrolysis-based solutions. Their technology is proven through an operational Pilot Plant in Gliwice, Poland, and a Demonstration Plant in East London, South Africa. Their offices are based in Israel, Poland, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. Without compromise on profitability or sustainability – Clariter unlocks the value of the Circular Economy. For more information visit


China’s Shifting Retail Landscape Signals the Permanence of Change Post-COVID-19

China’s rebound from COVID-19 has been unique. It came faster and with more demonstrable economic tailwinds for the economy than other markets. But it has also been a bellwether that has helped point to consumer behaviors elsewhere that have inevitably followed China’s lead. An example is the rebalancing of retail playing out around the world.

Pandemic-led shifts to further online adoption and an increased focus on neighborhood and small-format stores have become an ongoing normal. Though different to other markets, China helps us understand consumer attitudes and responses as they head into 2021 with the prospect of COVID-19 vaccine distributions at scale.

Historically, China has demonstrated a mature omnichannel shopping base, with consumers that are already years ahead of the majority of other markets in online shopping. In third-quarter 2020, online sales in China grew by 27 % for the year to date, while physical store sales declined by 4 %. The declines at physical stores were largely due to COVID-19-related closures, and there has been some recovery in the remainder of the year. China has four main city tiers, based on inputs such as population size, growth levels, location and infrastructure. Key cities (including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou) and A cities (including Chongqing, Tianjin and Dalian) saw the highest closure rates, while B cities and C cities were less impacted. Online has continued on its growth trajectory.

“Due to Chinese New Year (late January), population outflow and strict pandemic control policies, upper-tier cities experienced heavier impact during the height of the pandemic, and only 50%-60% of stores were still open for business,” said Tina Ding, Chief Commercial Officer, CPG, Nielsen China. “But due to market resilience and robust foundations, by August, around 80% of stores reopened, signaling both a rebound in physical and some fascinating new developments in the e-commerce space.”


In addition to sales growth, online shopping in China saw huge category expansion among shoppers during the onset of COVID-19. While e-commerce growth in China prior to the pandemic was primarily led by personal care categories, consumers began purchasing in categories like dairy, staple foods, beverage and liquor. For example, online growth for dairy has surged from 34 % to 55 % for the year to date October 2020, versus the same time a year ago and staple foods jumped from 30% to 48 % growth for the same period.

An adjacent trend that rapidly accelerated in China during COVID-19 was online to offline (O2O) shopping. Offering the best of both worlds, consumers purchase items online and have their items selected, (often by third parties) and delivered within a short delivery time of one-two hours. During the initial days of the epidemic, consumers valued the convenience and safety of these services, and the O2O growth rate jumped up to 20% from January to March. Between March and June, although COVID-19 was under control and consumers could return to normal, O2O growth continued at a rate of 6 %.

“The rapid adoption of online to offline shopping has driven an element of physical store fragmentation seen in China. Given that O2O transactions are executed in physical stores, O2O purchases—a majority of which are made in small format stores, are captured within physical in-store purchases. These O2O sales are contributing to the growth being seen in small format channels.” said Ding. “O2O was already a fast emerging trend in China prior to COVID-19, but it has definitely accelerated its usage. At the same time in 2019, consumers were more likely to shop in person before, but now their loyalty is driven by the outlets and brands that make themselves available for purchase in an O2O environment. In this world, convenience, proximity and safe access are key things that matter to consumers.”

But amid the growth has been upheaval in the physical retail sector. Some stores that were once the biggest contributors to total sales in the industry are now seeing sales declines, while those that may have been previously viewed as “under achievers” are over-performing against previous benchmarks.

The concentration, or number of stores, that account for 80 % of FMCG sales, often referred to as “golden stores” changed in China between February and September. More than half (56 %) of the stores in this universe of golden stores changed from the same period last year. Thirty-three percent of stores are new golden stores and 23 % of stores that used to be golden are no longer. The rotation of golden stores in and out is even greater in small-format channels, with Minimarket (58 %) and Convenience (42 %) seeing higher changeover than Supermarkets (37 %) and Hypermarkets (20 %).

Within the 33 % of new golden stores, 71 % are brand new entrants (that did not operate before COVID-19). 26 % of these brand new entrants  have jumped straight into top performing stores.  The scale of the changes is unprecedented and will have far-reaching implications for retailers and brands. Similar trends have played out in Paris and London.

Retailers and brands that have resisted adapting to COVID-19-shifted spending, perhaps hoping for a return to old habits, now find themselves lagging behind faster-moving competitors that adjusted for the ongoing change.

Those that have embraced the change in shopping preferences and pivoted their offerings to suit new consumer needs are already gaining traction. Areas they have addressed include distribution efficiencies, sales force optimization, innovation planning, assortment and pricing. 

CGTN: After ‘extraordinary’ 2020, what are Xi Jinping’s expectations for 2021?

2021, a year that marks the beginning of China’s new five-year plan period and the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is knocking at the door.

Clues can be found in his New Year address.

2021: ‘Striving is the only way forward’

China will enter a new stage of development to build a modern socialist country in an all-round way in 2021, as the CPC leadership has adopted proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan and long-range goals.

“The road ahead is long; striving is the only way forward,” Xi said in his address, calling for efforts to set up a new pattern for development to be accelerated, deeply implementing high-quality development and further deepening reform and expanding opening-up.

Rising above virus test, China’s top leaders set the economic priorities for 2021 in the key Central Economic Work Conference held in December, stressing that China will keep its macro policies consistent, stable and sustainable in 2021, with continued implementation of a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy.

In 2021, the country will take a solid first step in building the new development paradigm in which domestic and foreign markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.

Meanwhile, the president stressed the need to keep working hard to promote rural vitalization as the country has achieved decisive success in eradicating extreme poverty in 2020.

In the next five years, efforts will be made to consolidate achievements in the fight against poverty and fully promote the strategy of rural vitalization, according to the CPC Central Committee’s proposed major social and economic development targets for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

Xi Jinping

What are Chinese President Xi Jinping’s expectations for 2021, especially after the country’s hard-won achievements in 2020?

Read more: 
China is set to end absolute poverty by 2020, what’s next?

To realise all these goals, upholding the Party leadership is the most fundamental guarantee, Xi has said on many occasions.

In his New Year address, Xi described the Party as a gigantic vessel that leads China forward steadily with people’s expectations and the hope of the nation and stressed the importance of “original aspiration.”

The CPC was founded with an original aspiration: the mission to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and has remained committed to the people-centred philosophy of development.

The CPC’s original aspiration is even firmer 100 years later, Xi said.

2020: ‘Extraordinary’ in various areas

Looking back at 2020, the president described the year as an “anti-epidemic epic” and devoted much of his address to highlighting China’s all-out people’s war against COVID-19.

“Greatness is forged in the ordinary. Heroes come from the people. Every person is remarkable!” Xi said, before sending his sympathies to all those infected with the coronavirus.

In September, three outstanding medical professionals were conferred the national honorary title “the People’s Hero,” while a total of 1,499 individuals, 500 groups, 186 CPC members and 150 primary-level Party organizations were commended for their roles in fighting the epidemic, and another 14 Party members were posthumously awarded.

Read more:

Wuhan’s war on COVID-19: How China mobilises the whole country to contain the virus

Remembering the medical professionals we’ve lost to coronavirus

Meanwhile, China has participated actively in several global meetings to provide the international community with solutions and experiences, such as the G20 virtual summit on COVID-19the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN Plus Three or APT) on COVID-19, and a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the outbreak.

President Xi also reviewed China’s achievements in various areas.

China is the first major economy worldwide to achieve positive growth in 2020, and its GDP is expected to step up to a new level of 100 trillion yuan. China has seen a good harvest in grain production for 17 years in a row, according to the president.

Within eight years, under the current standard, China has eradicated extreme poverty for the nearly 100 million rural people affected, and all the 832 impoverished counties have shaken off poverty, he added.

China has seen breakthroughs in scientific explorations like the Tianwen-1 (Mars mission), Chang’e-5 (lunar probe), and Fendouzhe (deep-sea manned submersible). Construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port is proceeding with vigor, Xi said.

The president also recalled the unforgettable memories in 2020, including his inspections of 13 provincial-level regions, the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and his phone calls with friends from the international community to combat the pandemic. 

Read more:

Ten moments from Xi Jinping’s inspection tours

Xi’s ‘cloud diplomacy’ in the first half of 2020 instills global confidence

As the pandemic is still ravaging the world, President Xi highlighted the significance of a community with a shared future for mankind, especially for the post-pandemic world.

Read original article: here.


China’s State Capitalism collides with Its Technological Ambitions

Enduring power of China’s state-owned enterprises looks like a potential Achilles’ heel.

By guest author Nathaniel Taplin from Wall Street Journal

Can China’s hybrid state-capitalist economy learn to worship—or at least genuflect a bit deeper—at the altar of efficiency? As relations with wealthier, technologically advanced countries deteriorate, that is probably the most crucial economic question of the 2020s.

There are signs of real progress, much of it ironically driven by foreign pressure and the fear of stagnation as links with more open economies erode. But the enduring power of Chinese state-owned companies and their pull over the financial sector still represent huge vulnerabilities.

All graphics and captions courtesy by Wall Street Journal

One clear and underappreciated example of progress is in intellectual property. Rhetoric from Washington notwithstanding, a majority of U.S. companies actually say IP protection in China is getting better, albeit from a low base, according to an American Chamber of Commerce survey this summer. Since 2014, China has set up a system of specialized IP courts and litigation has exploded, with over 481000 IP cases in 2019, up nearly 50 % from 2018.

New bankruptcy courts are also helping dispatch struggling companies more quickly, which could help address China’s chronic problem with “zombie” companies and free up scarce resources. The average length of bankruptcy cases in China is high: around 1.6 years on average over the past decade, or 60 % longer than in the U.S., according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

But cases handled by the special courts—now roughly half of total bankruptcies, up from a negligible percentage in 2011—proceed about 35% more quickly than those in regular civil courts. Bankruptcy cases have also skyrocketed in numerical terms, rising from less than 5000 in 2015 to nearly 19000 in 2018 according to the Supreme People’s Court of China.

The news on bankruptcies isn’t all good, however. The recent surge in bankruptcy cases coincided with a crackdown on China’s shadow banking system that fell heavily on private companies, which have less access to formal bank loans than their state-owned counterparts.

The enduring problem of parasitic state-owned enterprises remains obvious. Despite a spate of SOE bond defaults in November, the extra yield that private industrial companies pay to borrow compared with SOEs has barely budged, according to data from Wind. Tough talk from Beijing has so far failed to comprehensively remove the impression that SOE debt is a safer bet.

That is a significant problem for China’s technological ambitions. Notably, China’s two poster children for technological prowess and global success—Huawei and Bytedance, owner of TikTok—aren’t state-owned enterprises. Bytedance enjoyed early support from U.S. venture capital. Huawei grew up with various forms of state support but ultimately thrived competing head-to-head in global export markets.

As relations with the U.S. erode, rising Chinese tech companies will probably encounter higher barriers to both foreign financing and foreign markets. If key internal Chinese markets remain unfairly tilted toward companies with good political connections, rather than the best products, China may struggle to birth many new companies truly pushing the technological frontier.

China’s would-be semiconductor champions, many of them state-owned, are in fact running into trouble at an escalating rate. Tsinghua Unigroup has now defaulted on multiple bonds. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. is being added to a U.S. government export blacklist which could hamstring the company’s ambitions to develop current-generation chips.

The troubles of these state chip makers are therefore shaping up as an interesting litmus test of how much play China is really willing to give market forces in high technology. If, for example, SMIC starts losing customers or quality suffers as a result of escalating U.S. restrictions, will Beijing pressure companies like Huawei to keep buying from them anyway? Will state banks stand behind them?

If so, that will mean fewer resources available for companies that might have a better chance of really pushing the technological frontier—either in chip making or something else. SMIC already raised billions in new equity funding in 2020 and enjoys incredibly low bond finance costs: an SMIC bond maturing in 2022 currently yields just a little higher than a one-year central government bond, according to Wind data.

Beijing is essentially now engaged in a massive, long-shot attempt to build from the ground up an advanced semiconductor manufacturing capability that doesn’t depend on foreign suppliers—churning through gargantuan amounts of the Chinese people’s money in the process. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, a better economic strategy would be to mend its relations with the West and reform China’s dysfunctional credit system—then import chips and let Chinese markets and Chinese companies decide what China is really good at.

Sadly, that seems unlikely, given the current leadership’s ideological bent. If Beijing persists in a mercantile, actively hostile approach to core Western values and interests, the U.S. has options to respond. One strategy might be to do what it can to stay ahead at home by bolstering public investment in areas like research and education, while simultaneously taking targeted steps with allies to make Beijing’s moonshot as costly and wasteful as possible.


Cleveland Clinic and Standard Textile Collaborate to Develop Reusable Face Masks

Proceeds to Support COVID-19 Research at Cleveland Clinic

Standard Textile, a global manufacturer of healthcare, hospitality, and consumer products, and Cleveland Clinic will collaborate to produce a non-medical grade, reusable face mask that is designed for comfort and customization. Standard Textile will sell the face masks on its consumer website, 

On the forefront of biomedical research, Cleveland Clinic is leading a number of research projects related to COVID-19. Cleveland Clinic formed a multidisciplinary committee to evaluate therapies for mild to severe cases of the disease, with the goal of supporting trials that are scientifically sound and prioritizing those with the potential for significant impact on clinical care. 

In addition, Cleveland Clinic’s new Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health is bringing together top scientists in infectious disease, virology and other specialties to research the causes, treatments and cures of COVID-19 and other global health concerns such as HIV, Zika and Dengue fever with a focus on identifying and preventing the world’s next viral threats.

As a non-profit healthcare system, Cleveland Clinic relies on philanthropic gifts to fund these critical research projects and programs. Since spring, thousands of donors have contributed to COVID-19 research. Their charitable gifts hold the promise of saving countless lives. Standard Textile is donating the majority of profit from face mask sales to support COVID-19 research at Cleveland Clinic.

“We applaud Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to dedicating substantial resources to important therapeutic studies that have the potential of improving outcomes for individuals who have contracted COVID-19,” said Gary Heiman, Standard Textile’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We value our long-standing relationship with Cleveland Clinic and are pleased we have an opportunity to expand that by supporting COVID-19 research.” 

Standard Textile’s and Cleveland Clinic’s respective innovation teams collaborated to design the non-medical face mask, which will bear the inspirational message “HOPE” after Hope Hospital, a temporary hospital in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion on the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic.  In April, Cleveland Clinic transitioned the Samson Pavilion to a temporary hospital to meet the potential needs of patients and the community in the event of a surge of patients with COVID-19. The building was converted back to the Health Education Campus for the fall semester.

“As we consider opportunities to commercialize innovations, it’s important to us to collaborate with industry leaders who align with our commitment to protecting the community and advancing research,” said Will Morris, M.D., Executive Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

“Teaming up with Standard Textile on this creative project supports social distancing and mask wearing, while raising funds for critical COVID-19 research at Cleveland Clinic.”

The reusable face mask offers enhanced comfort with its 100% cotton construction and breathability with its mesh lining. Adjustable ear loops and a neck strap add convenience of use, while its filter pocket and removable nose clip offer customization options. Standard Textile and Cleveland Clinic plan to produce custom-branded versions of the face mask for key partners looking to outfit their employees and customers with an enhanced, non-medical face mask.

“We appreciate the collaboration with Standard Textile on this project,” said Lara Kalafatis, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Philanthropy Institute. “This new mask truly represents hope in several ways, from raising critical research funds through sale proceeds to giving us all one more way to #MaskUp to keep our families and communities safe.” 

The HOPE™ face mask is being produced by Standard Textile, who earlier this year led the urgent charge to increase production of PPE such as protective gowns, face masks and face shields in order to provide hospitals and healthcare workers in the United States with additional protection against COVID-19.   

“We have an 80-year legacy of inspiring care, comfort, and change in our communities. Our work with Cleveland Clinic allows us to bring to the consumer a face mask that not only helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19 — it also inspires hope for a healthier future for all of us,” said Heiman.   

Founded in 1940, Standard Textile has developed a culture of innovation, quality, and service. With more than 80 patents, its products are engineered to deliver durability, longevity, and value. A vertically integrated company, Standard Textile is a leading global provider of total solutions in the institutional textiles and apparel markets. Leveraging textile design, manufacturing, and laundry expertise, and its global infrastructure, this company serves customers in the healthcare, hospitality, interiors, and consumer markets worldwide.

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 67,554 employees worldwide are more than 4,520 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,000 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,026-bed health system that includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 18 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2019, there were 9.8 million total outpatient visits, 309,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 255,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries.


lululemon athletica inc. Updates Revenue and Earnings Expectations for the Fourth Quarter Ahead of the ICR Conference

lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) on January 11, 2020 announced the company now expects revenue and earnings to be at the high end of its prior range of expectations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 ending January 31, 2021.

Calvin McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We’re pleased with the momentum over the holiday period as our investments in lululemon and MIRROR allowed us to connect with guests both physically and digitally. We remain confident about our opportunities in 2021 and committed to our Power of Three growth plan.”

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the company now expects the growth rate in net revenue to be at the high end of its mid-to-high teens expectation. The company also expects the growth rate in adjusted diluted earnings per share to now be at the high end of its mid-single digits expectation.

Members of the management team will be meeting virtually with analysts and investors at the ICR Conference on January 11-13, 2021.

lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) is a healthy lifestyle inspired athletic apparel company for yoga, running, training, and most other sweaty pursuits, creating transformational products and experiences which enable people to live a life they love. Setting the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, lululemon works with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback.

Perstorp Group granted unique RCF backed by the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN)

Perstorp, a global leader in the specialty chemicals market with a focus on polyols & solutions, advanced chemicals and animal nutrition, has been granted a liquidity enhancing Revolving Credit Facility of SEK 600 million.

Perstorp Group has grown steadily over the last few years and has ambitious plans for the future. This RCF will support the company in its development, will protect Perstorp from the current market environment and will provide liquidity to capture growth opportunities once conditions improve.

The RCF is provided by Nordea, Goldman Sachs, SEB and DNB. The financing solution is unique and the first of its kind. It involves a scheme for credit guarantees issued by the Swedish Export Credit Agency (“EKN”), which will cover 75% of the granted Revolving Credit Facility.

Jan Secher, President & CEO comments: “This has been a true team effort and I would like to thank everyone involved; EKN, the banks, our owners and several other stakeholders. It is reassuring that with this Revolving Credit Facility in place, Perstorp has, relative to its size, one of the best liquidity positions among European chemical companies. We have ambitious growth plans for when the market recovers from the Covid-19 situation, and look to the future with confidence”.

Clariant AG: SABIC submits agenda items for Clariant’s 26th Annual General Meeting

•             Special dividend of CHF 2.00 per share proposed

•             Time limit of 12 years for BoD members suggested

Clariant, a focused, sustainable and innovative specialty chemical company, today announced that its major shareholder SABIC has submitted the following two items for the agenda of the 26th Annual General Meeting of shareholders which is currently scheduled to take place on April 7, 2021:

1.           Special dividend distribution to the shareholders of an amount of CHF 2.00 per share or such lower maximum amount as can lawfully be distributed to the shareholders pursuant to the Company’s audited statutory balance sheet as of December 31, 2020.

2.           Amendment of article 20 of the articles of association – introduction of a time limit of 12 years for members of the Board of Directors including the Chairperson.

The Board of Director will address these requests when preparing the Annual General Meeting 2021 and will define its position to these 2 agenda points.

VF Corporation completes acquisition of Supreme®

VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, announced that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Supreme®, a privately-owned global streetwear brand, for an aggregate base purchase price of USD 2.1 billion subject to customary adjustments for cash, indebtedness, working capital and transaction expenses. As a result of the transaction, Supreme® has become a wholly owned subsidiary of VF Corporation.

The acquisition of the Supreme® brand accelerates VF’s consumer-minded, retail-centric, hyper-digital business model transformation and builds on a long-standing relationship between Supreme® and VF, with the Supreme® brand being a regular collaborator with VF’s Vans®, The North Face® and Timberland® brands.

Supreme® is expected to be modestly accretive to VF’s revenue and adjusted earnings per share in fiscal 2021. The Supreme® brand is expected to contribute at least USD 500 million of revenue and USD 0.20 of adjusted EPS in fiscal 2022.

Founded in 1899, VF Corporation is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies connecting people to the lifestyles, activities and experiences they cherish most through a family of iconic outdoor, active and workwear brands including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland® and Dickies®. Our purpose is to power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet. We connect this purpose with a relentless drive to succeed to create value for all stakeholders and use our company as a force for good.

Christmas Tree Shops’ New Owners — Post Bed Bath & Beyond — Unwrap Their Purchase

By guest author Warren Shoulberg, Senior Contributor Retail at FORBES

Christmas came early for Marc and Pam Salkovitz and their Handil Holdings company with the close of their deal to buy the Christmas Tree Shops business from Bed Bath BBBY & Beyond last month.

Now they will be spending the next year unwrapping the purchase and working to make it better.

Handil — it’s a contraction of their kids’ names, Hannah and Dillon — bought the 80-unit Christmas Tree operation as part of Bed Bath’s plan to shed non-core businesses and concentrate on its nameplate brand, as well as BuyBuyBaby and Harmon Beauty. But for Handil, which has operated mostly in the greeting card business for the past few years, Christmas Tree Shops will be very much its prime focus.

“Since I moved from Philadelphia to Boston in 1983, I’ve loved this chain, and for a long time, it just kept getting better,” Marc Salkovitz told in his first interview since the acquisition. But as a smaller unit within BBB, he said he believed the chain did not get the management attention or investment it needed to grow.

“While CTS maintained their stronghold on the seasonal business, we watched as the brand started to become less relevant with little investment in the upkeep of the stores, a lack of new ways to connect with the customer and the inability to attract new customers. We believe that the fun store experience of finding a great deal began to fade as the emphasis shifted solely towards the financial metrics and with that, the company lost a bit of its soul.”

But the business itself remained viable, he said. “What got us most interested in acquiring CTS was when we learned that there were still so many passionate and loyal customers who have stuck with the brand and craved more. They love the excitement of the treasure hunt, seeing the bargains and all of the special finds. We viewed this as an opportunity to rebuild the legacy with a renewed focus on the customer, updated branding initiatives, operational efficiencies and new merchandising strategies.”

Christmas Tree Shop items

BBB said it expected to generate about USD 250 million from the sale, a figure the new owners did not confirm. Christmas Tree’s annual volume has not been publicly announced as Bed Bath never broke out sales of individual brand units.

Salkovitz, who is executive chairman of the Sudbury, Massachusetts-based company, said he and his wife Pam, the CEO, would immediately start to rebuild the chain, including:

• A shift in merchandising to focus more on food, consumables and home goods, while deemphasizing slower moving, traditional products like health and beauty. “CTS already offers food and we’re going to increase that assortment to best service our customers. That means better turn, more visitors, larger transactions.” Seasonal products, as suggested by the very name of the store, will also be strengthened and a customer loyalty program will be instituted next year.

• Modernising systems to help bring managing this company up to date and prepare for future growth. “We are building a state-of-the-art cloud based system that will help create strong customer relationships, improve vendor management and restructure the merchandise planning and allocation processes.”

• Assortments will be aided by utilizing the in-house design and production capabilities. “This process, along with our long-standing manufacturing relationships, aids us in being able to provide new and unique product collections all year round.”

• Staffing will be a mix of existing personnel from the previous ownership as well as rebuilt areas that had been under BBB centralised services. “IT, HR and finance were the functions that were most intertwined with the parent company and where we have had the opportunity to attract and onboard top talent leaders that complements the existing management team. We are investing heavily in creating new IT systems that will roll out over the next 18 months and will best support the specific needs of this company. It is our goal to build a stand-alone business that has a strong internal foundation of superior systems, processes, tools and people to support our successful growth. We will operate our distribution center in Middleboro, Massachusetts while the corporate team, mostly based in Union New Jersey, will continue to be located in the same area.”

• While under previous ownership, the chain experimented with various names, Salkovitz said the plan is to operate under just the single Christmas Tree Shops brand. The 80 existing stores — he says all are profitable — are expected to be retained but expansion plans beyond that are on hold for the time being. “We currently operate in 20 states mostly along the east coast and we have a strategic plan for growing the chain post-Covid. We believe that the CTS value proposition and positioning fills a void between an Ollies customer and a HomeGoods customer; we offer value and selection in a pleasant and inviting atmosphere. This sweet spot will fuel store expansion beyond our existing portfolio and we are especially optimistic that the current retail landscape will provide new and favorable real estate opportunities for the brand.”

• E-commerce, which was not really a focus for the brand under previous management, will continue to be on the back burner as attention is centered on physical stores. “We’re all about the treasure hunt and e-commerce doesn’t lend itself well to treasure hunts. We will first focus on enhancing the customers’ in-store experience and therefore, e-commerce will not be a top priority for us over the next 24 months. We realize how important it is to give our customers multiple ways to interact with the brand and will continue to evaluate and explore e-commerce strategies. We will anticipate re-launching the online shop when we are confident that we can offer our customers a similarly satisfying shopping experience to that of our stores.”

For both Pam and Marc Salkovitz Christmas Tree Shops represents the next step in long and varied careers across a wide swath of the retailing business. The two met at Lechmere, the long-gone kitchen and housewares chain and have been married for 35 years. After Lechmere’s demise, Pam went on to spend much of the next several decades in the fashion and footwear business where she was president of several well-known retailers including Candies, Stride Rite Children’s Group and the outlet division of Nine West, which she started and built into an off-price mainstay. Since leaving the fashion industry she has spent the majority of her time advising and mentoring women in business. 

Marc, who describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur,” has had a much more varied career since Lechmere, including working at early e-commerce player Compucard, starting and selling a telecom business and opening a vegetarian restaurant and market in Connecticut. In 2015 he purchased Marian Heath Greeting Cards (now called Viabella) from private equity and it has now become one of the top five greeting card companies in the country he says.

Christmas Tree Shops have performed well since stores began to reopen after the initial stages of the pandemic and Salkovitz remains very much optimistic about what’s to come. “Our growth during Covid has been staggering and we expect post Covid sales to increase at an even higher rate.

“We are excited to grow this business in this industry at this time and we look forward to continuing to maximize our current business and executing on initiatives for growth ranging from new stores, potential new partnerships and even a few unexpected avenues.”

Christmas Tree Shops may have been a peripheral business for its previous ownership but Salkovitz says, “it is core to Handil Holdings. More to come…”

Milliken to join the Digital Watermark Project, HolyGrail 2.0, a cutting-edge European initiative to drive a truly circular economy

HolyGrail 2.0 is working to prove the viability of digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of packaging at scale.

Milliken & Company’s Chemical Division, an industry leader in sustainability and the drive to improve the recyclability of plastics, has joined the Digital Watermarks Project, a large-scale initiative testing the viability of digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of plastics.

The Digital Watermarks Project was part of a pioneering initiative facilitated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, HolyGrail 1.0, that brought together brand owners, retailers, recyclers, packaging producers and sorting technology providers from across the plastics value chain to investigate ways to improve the sorting of post-consumer plastics.

Within HolyGrail 1.0, digital watermarks were found to be the most promising technology and a basic proof-of-concept for smart sorting was developed. HolyGrail 2.0, the 2nd iteration facilitated by AIM, the European Brands Association, will take this initiative to the next stage by validating the concept and the technology on a semi-industrial scale.

“This is a great initiative with buy-in from across the plastics value chain. Sustainability, innovation and digital are being combined to help achieve the objective of the European Green New Deal to make the EU’s economy sustainable by 2050. We are proud to be part of something that can help to drive a circular plastics economy,” said Wim Van de Velde, Milliken’s Vice President Europe, Middle-East and Africa (Chemical Division).

The second phase will aim to test sorting efficiencies, consumer engagement, and distribution tracking. It will require the participation of a large critical mass of brand owners and retailers who will need to modify product packaging with digital watermarks provided by the technology partner(s). The technology partners will adapt larger sorting facilities to incorporate watermark readers necessary to process at a large scale.

“At Milliken we are passionate about transforming the impact that plastics have on the environment for the better. One of our key priorities is to improve the recyclability of plastics by developing additives that improve the performance of polyolefins and allow for higher percentages of post-consumer resin. HolyGrail 2.0 fits into our vision of a circular future,” explained Wim Van de Velde.

Following the validation of the Digital Watermarking Project at semi-industrial scale, packaging coded with digital watermarks will be introduced in a national test market. The project is scheduled to report on its findings in mid-2022.

To find out more about HolyGrail 2.0 visit To find out more about Milliken’s sustainability and CSR initiatives visit

Materials science expert Milliken & Company knows that a single molecule has the potential to change the world. With innovative solutions across the textile, flooring, specialty chemical, and healthcare industries, Milliken answers some of the world’s greatest challenges. Named to the World’s Most Ethical Companies list by Ethisphere Institute for 14 years, the company meets the moment with an unwavering commitment to delivering sustainable solutions for its customers and communities. Eight thousand associates across 46 locations globally rally behind a common purpose: to positively impact the world for generations. Discover more about Milliken’s curious minds and inspired solutions at

Spanish Luxury brand Desigual expands its online presence through Tata CLiQ Luxury

Spanish fashion brand – Desigual, that forayed into India under Tablez, the leading organised retail group, expands its online presence through Tata CLiQ  Luxury. Earlier in August 2020, Desigual launched its first concept store in Delhi and after having received tremendous response, the brand has partnered with Tata CLiQ Luxury to further strengthen its online presence and bring the bold, unique designs and bright hues of Desigual to customers across the country.

Speaking on the collaboration, Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Tablez Group, said, “We are excited to partner with Tata CLiQ Luxury to make Desigual’s product portfolio more accessible to our existing and new customers. The collaboration envisions bringing together Tata CLiQ Luxury’s extensive reach with Desigual’s high fashion offering, to deliver a seamless shopping experience for the fashion-conscious Indian consumer.” 

Gitanjali Saxena, Business Head, Tata CLiQ Luxury, adds, “We are delighted to bring Desigual, a brand much loved for its optimistic, differential aesthetic, to our discerning customers. With this addition, we are able to provide the savvy, global Indian with a truly international shopping experience – one that is focused on quality, authenticity and thoughtfulness.”

Desigual is characterised by the individuality and the unique character of its creations designed to authentically dress anyone who wants to be 100% themselves and express their most creative side. The brand is Mediterranean in spirit, and this is where the inspiration comes from, which is conveyed through the designs, stores, and communication. Through its unique garments, Desigual aims to inspire people to be themselves and invite them to celebrate their authenticity. The brand adjusts to the needs of every customer through different categories like woman, accessories, and footwear. Collections include new designs, shapes, and patterns, and use sustainable materials and new fibers to offer a high-quality product.

Desigual is an international fashion brand that was established in Barcelona in 1984. It is famous for the individuality and unique character of its creations, which aim to bring positivity and authenticity to thousands of people who want to express the best version of themselves. The company currently has a workforce of over 3700 employees and is present in nearly 90 countries through 10 sales channels, over 500 branded stores and six product categories: Woman, Man, Kids, Accessories, Shoes and Sport.

Adapting to the changing definition of luxury in India – one that reflects contemporary values of thoughtfulness, authenticity, timeliness, and quality – Tata CLiQ Luxury is focused on enhancing its luxury experience by embracing the principles of Slow Commerce. Attention shifts to the finer details – to craftsmanship and heritage and the tranquility and value of an experience, where browsing is a delight, and quality is nurtured.

As India’s premier luxury lifestyle platform, we strive to offer a superlative experience through a careful curation of brands, mindfully developed brand stores, luxury delivery and unboxing experiences designed to bring luxury shopping to the customer’s doorstep, and personalized privilege programmes, managed by attentive relationship managers.

Tata CLiQ Luxury offers premium & luxury brands across a range of categories, including Accessories, Beauty & Fragrances, Fashion, Handbags, Home, Sneakers & Footwear, Stationery and Watches and Gourmet Foods.