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Sainsbury's CEO to retire; Starbucks to expand plant-based food menu


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Sainsbury's CEO to retire; Starbucks to expand plant-based food menu


* J Sainsbury PLC announced CEO Mike Coupe will retire at the end of May and will be succeeded by Simon Roberts, the U.K. supermarket retailer's retail and operations director. Prior to joining Sainsbury’s in 2017, Roberts was an executive vice president at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and also worked at Marks & Spencer Group PLC. Separately, The Guardian reported that Sainsbury's will cut hundreds of jobs, citing a letter to staff from Coupe. The job cuts are part of its £500 million cost-savings plan.

* Starbucks Corp. said it will add more plant-based options as the coffee chain plans a shift toward a more environmentally friendly menu, seeking to become a "resource-positive company." Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson also set preliminary targets for 2030 that encompass a 50% reduction in carbon emission and landfill waste from stores.


* The Kroger Co. appointed Colleen Juergensen as president of its Central division and Steve Dreher as president of its Dillons business.

* German wholesaler Metro AG shareholders Meridian Foundation and Beisheim Group have raised their stake in the German wholesaler and retailer to about 23%, Reuters reported, citing statements from Meridian, Beisheim and Metro.

* German supermarkets operator Kaufland Dienstleistung GmbH & Co. KG is shelving plans to expand in Australia and will focus on its core European markets, affecting nearly 200 jobs, Reuters reported, citing Kaufland International acting CEO Frank Schumann's comments from a local media report. Kaufland did not reportedly respond to request for comment.

* Russian food retailer X5 Retail Group NV reported an 11% year-over-year growth in 2019 fourth-quarter total net retail sales to 467.30 billion Russian rubles as like-for-like sales increased 2.3%. X5 added 545 new stores during the quarter.

* The joint entity between online food delivery companies NV and Just Eat PLC will be renamed Just Eat NV on Jan. 24 after 80% of Just Eat's shareholders approved's raised offer. The new company will begin trading in London and Amsterdam on Jan. 27.

* Shoprite Holdings Ltd.'s shares were trading about 4% higher in Johannesburg after the food retailer posted a 7% increase in total sales to 81.2 billion South African rand for six months ended Dec. 29, 2019. Sales from the company's supermarkets segment grew 9.8% to 61.7 billion rand during the period.


* Coca-Cola Co. and Inc. plan to expand a joint plastic recycling program that both companies trialed last month in Shanghai. will use its nationwide logistics system to collect PET bottles from households as they deliver packages. The collected bottles will be sent to recycling facilities in cooperation with Coca-Cola where the recycled material will enter the circular value chain.

* French brewer Société Des Brasseries Et Glacières Internationales SA made an offer to buy additional 16.33% stake in Cameroon-based beer-maker Societe Anonyme des Brasseries du Cameroun from Dutch brewer Heineken NV's holding company and others for about €120 million.


* Japan Tobacco Inc. reported a 5.5% year-over-year decline in its domestic cigarette sales in December 2019 to ¥41.3 billion from ¥43.7 billion. Cigarette sales volume also fell 4.8% to 6.5 billion sticks compared to 6.8 billion sticks in the year-ago period.

* Imperial Brands PLC's New Zealand unit is considering closing its cigarette-manufacturing factory in Petone due to declining demand and a shift toward next-generation smoking products, The NZ Herald reported, citing Kirsten Daggar-Nickson, Imperial's head of corporate and legal affairs. The move will reportedly affect 122 jobs.


* Spices and condiments producer McCormick & Co. Inc. appointed Nordstrom Inc. CFO Anne Bramman to its board, effective Jan. 21.

* Nestlé SA plans to stop producing broths, soups and sauces at its Hauts-de-France plant in northern France due to declining volumes, food news website Just Food reported, citing a company spokesperson. The move will reportedly affect 158 employees. The Swiss food company did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

* Alex Leite, Tereos SA's executive director of sugar trading division, will be leaving the company, Reuters reported, citing sources. The French sugar group was reportedly not available for comment.

* Barry Callebaut AG said it outperformed "the overall flat underlying chocolate confectionery market" as its sales volume grew 8.2% to 585,620 tonnes for three months ended Nov. 30, 2019. The Swiss chocolatier added that it is "on track" to deliver its midterm guidance, after posting a 6.3% increase in revenue to CHF2.00 billion.

* Illinois-based food company Conagra Brands Inc. expanded its Gardein plant-based products range in the U.S. with the launch of a new vegan burger patty, made from pea proteins.

* S&P Global Ratings downgraded Spanish olive oil bottler Deoleo SA's issuer credit rating to SD from CC and removed it from CreditWatch after the company agreed to restructure its debt involving a debt-to-equity swap of up to €283 million and a capital increase of up to €50 million.


* Chuck E. Cheese owner CEC Entertainment Inc. appointed David McKillips as its new CEO, replacing Thomas Leverton, who resigned from the company. Most recently, McKillips was president of the international development unit at Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 1.27% to 28,341.04, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.70% to 24,031.35.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.02% to 7,608.82, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.15% to 1,163.07.

On the macro front

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index, the Redbook, the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index and the existing home sales 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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