Morning Briefing

Hugo Boss Slims Down

Ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder is making  a last-ditch effort to save loss-making supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann. He’s being advised by Bert Rürup, president of Handelsblatt Research Institute who once led Schröder’s Council of Economic Experts. The duo needs to work their magic before November 16 when a Düsseldorf court may pull the plug. There’s reason to bet on Social Democratic veterans Schröder and Rürup: They reformed Germany’s labor market and pension system. If anyone can thread the needle between business and labor, it’s these two.

Schröder’s former economics minister Wolfgang Clement doesn’t think much of an SPD plan to form a creaky coalition with Greens and the former communist Left Party to unseat Angela Merkel next year. SPD leaders tell Clement this fragile alliance is the only way to avoid playing second fiddle to Merkel for another four years. That’s a pathetic approach to saving the once-proud party of Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt, Clement says. Politics shouldn’t be about winning power at any cost, he argues, “especially if the cost is your own self-esteem.”

Two military campaigns, two different moral compasses. The West is appalled at the ongoing bombardment of Aleppo by Syria’s Assad and Russians. But few are upset about the rain of death that will surely fall when western forces storm Mosul to purge the Iraqi stronghold of IS fighters. Apparently, we’ve come to the point where we can distinguish between good and bad killing. I didn’t realize there was an escape clause in the first of the 10 Commandments: Thou shalt not kill.

Fashions come and go, as do CEOs at German menswear giant Hugo Boss. Mark Langer, the new one, tells Handelsblatt in his first interview on the job that he will steer the luxury tailor away from pricey fashionwear toward more affordable clothing.  He also plans to close 40 stores to save money. As the company’s former financial officer, Langer knows a thing or two about tight-fitting budgets. His preferred management style is super slim fit.

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann will present third-quarter results today. Of course, investors are interested in the numbers but they really want to know his plans for Monsanto, which Bayer is buying for $66 billion in Germany’s biggest-ever acquisition. Baumann could rightly claim what Winston Churchill once said of himself: “We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm.”

Picture of the Day

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"Captain Sharky" is already warming up for the toy trade fair SPIELidee that takes place in Rostock from November 4 to 6. Source: Jens Büttner/DPA
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