* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB's shares rose 1.7% in mid-morning trading in Stockholm after it reported that net sales for the fiscal fourth quarter rose 9% to 61.70 billion Swedish kronor from 56.41 billion kronor a year earlier. H&M also said net sales for fiscal 2019 grew 11% year over year to 232.76 billion kronor from 210.40 billion kronor.
* AB Electrolux's shares fell 10.8% after it said its North American business is expected to take a hit of about $70 million in the fourth quarter, up from the previously estimated $25 million, due to the consolidation of its refrigerator and freezer manufacturing and the transition to a new facility in South Carolina.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Arcadia Group Ltd. refinanced a £310 million loan with private equity firm Apollo Management International LLP against its flagship TopShop store in Oxford Street, London, Reuters reported.
* Toscafund Asset Management LLP has built a 12.6% stake in struggling apparel retailer Ted Baker PLC, making it the second-largest shareholder in the company after founder Ray Kelvin.
* OTB SpA-owned clothing company Diesel SpA appointed Massimo Piombini as its new CEO, Women's Wear Daily reported. Piombini is likely to join the company in February.
* Capri Holdings Ltd. signed a deal to acquire Italian atelier and shoemaker Alberto Gozzi Srl for an undisclosed amount, Women's Wear Daily reported. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
* Gucci's former executive vice president for merchandising and markets, Jacopo Venturini, is expected to join Valentino Fashion Group SpA in a senior role, possibly succeeding CEO Stefano Sassi, Women's Wear Daily reported.
* A Paris commercial court ordered Kering SA to pay €40,000 to its former creative director Hedi Slimane, Women's Wear Daily reported. The court ruled on Dec. 3 that the apparel retailer should pay Slimane and his company Analytic Project €20,000 each for fees related to an earlier case, according to court documents. The court rejected Slimane's requests for a civil fine against Kering and for interest damages.
* Mothercare PLC reached an agreement with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.'s U.K. unit to become its new exclusive franchisee partner for the U.K. Under the deal, which will initially run for five years, Boots will stock Mothercare-branded clothing, home and travel products.
* Richard Baker, executive chairman of Hudson's Bay Co., may abandon his take-private deal due to a delayed vote on the matter following complaints by its third-largest individual shareholder Catalyst Capital Group, Bloomberg News reported, citing an internal memo. The Ontario Securities Commission on Dec. 13 granted the Canadian private equity firm's request to require Hudson's Bay to amend and resend to shareholders its management information circular dated Nov. 14. The investor group led by Baker wrote in a memo to advisers that it is considering its next steps, "including terminating the transaction." Hudson's Bay did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.
* Asset managers BlackRock Inc. and Sofina SA will provide an additional £66 million equity investment in U.K. e-commerce company Hut Group Ltd., Sky News reported. The new financing will be provided along with a new £501 million term-loan, a five-year £150 million revolving credit facility from lenders including Barclays and HSBC, and a £200 million package to a property subsidiary.
* German trade union Verdi has asked workers at Amazon.com Inc.'s logistics center in Bad Hersfeld to stage a strike before Christmas to demand better pay and working conditions, Reuters reported.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. said net sales at its overseas unit, 7-Eleven Inc., increased 0.7% year over year in November. The Japanese company's general merchandising arm, Ito-Yokado, saw a decline of 3.5% in sales. Supermarket chain York-Benimaru's sales rose 2.6%, while department store chain Sogo & Seibu's sales plunged 5.6%. Seven & i Food Systems Co. Ltd., which operates restaurant chain Denny's in Japan, saw sales fall 2.4%.
* Woolworths Group Ltd. said its shareholders agreed to merge its beverage and hospitality units, Endeavour Drinks and ALH Group Pty. Ltd. The combined entity will be spun off and called Endeavour Group. The Australian food retailer plans to implement the creation of Endeavour Group on Feb. 2, 2020, and then merge the group with Bruce Mathieson Group's interests in ALH on Feb. 4, 2020.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* Shares of U.K. retailer Sports Direct International PLC soared 26.8% in morning trading after it reported underlying basic EPS of 15.4 pence, up from 7.3 pence in the year-ago period, and said its "elevation strategy" was showing results. Shareholders also approved a motion to rename the company to Frasers Group PLC. The change will take effect Dec. 17.
HOTELS, RESORTS AND CRUISE LINES
* SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Oyo Hotels & Homes is facing criticism from Chinese hoteliers after they accused the company of imposing "unclear bills and arbitrary deductions" and threatened to take legal action if the company does not "promptly" resolve the complaints, the Financial Times reported, citing a letter signed by 172 hoteliers. "Our communications with our most important stakeholders [hotel owners] probably was not sufficient. We will further improve our internal management [and] optimize our business model to better serve our partnering hotel owners," Oyo's China unit said in a statement.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.65% to 27,508.09, and the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.29% to 23,952.35.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 2.19% to 7,514.52, and the Euronext 100 rose 1.00% to 1,143.74.
On the macro front
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the Housing Market Index and the Treasury International Capital report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
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