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Mexico rejects Walmart-Cornershop deal; Reckitt to make $200M US, UK investment

TOP NEWS

* Wal-Mart de México SAB de CV said Mexican antitrust regulator Federal Economic Competition Commission has expressed its objection to Walmart Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Latin American delivery service Cornershop for $225 million. "We are analyzing the scope of this resolution and the measures we will adopt, since we are sure that this operation is positive for the competitive environment and for the consumer, and that it drives the development of e-commerce in Mexico," Walmart's Mexican unit said.

* Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC will invest an additional $200 million in its U.S. and U.K. operations in 2019, inclusive of a $70 million investment in its Michigan factory, Reuters reported, citing CEO Rakesh Kapoor. Kapoor reportedly said the investment is part of the company's expansion plans following its acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. in 2017.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* The Ninth Circuit federal appeals court upheld a 2017 ruling that Fiesta Fabric's copyright registration of a mixed-geometric design as part of an "unpublished" collection was invalid, Women's Wear Daily reported. The textile manufacturer sued apparel companies and retailers including Sanctuary Clothing Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Macy's Inc., in 2016 for selling clothes with a similar design. A Fiesta lawyer reportedly could not be reached for comment, while a Macy's representative declined to comment on pending litigation.

* Arcadia Group Ltd. agreed with pension trustees and a U.K. regulator to provide security for the schemes valued at £210 million, inclusive of £25 million from The Pensions Regulator. The struggling owner of the Dorothy Perkins brand said Cristina Green, Arcadia Chairman Philip Green's spouse, has also pledged a voluntary contribution of £75 million over a three-year period, plus an additional £25 million.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Mike Barry, Marks and Spencer Group PLC's sustainability director, said he will leave the company at the end of June. Barry, who will be succeeded by Carmel McQuaid, was in charge of the company's Plan A program, which aims to convert M&S into a zero-waste business by 2025.

* J. C. Penney Co. Inc. named retail veteran Victor Ejarque Lopez, who held leadership roles in companies including Sears Holdings Corp. and Guess? Inc., as senior vice president and general merchandise manager for women's apparel, effective June 10.

E-COMMERCE

* JD.com Inc.'s JD Coin loyalty program will connect to Ascenda Loyalty Pte. Ltd.'s loyalty currency exchange network, TransferConnect, to offer airline and hotel loyalty rewards to more than 40 million JD Coin members in China.

* Ctrip.com International Ltd. expects its international arm to generate half of its total revenue within five years, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing CEO Jane Sun. The travel services provider anticipates that it will benefit from the rising trend among Chinese locals to holiday abroad every year, the report said.

* JD.com announced that members of its JD Plus premium membership program will have privileges at 15,000 hotels globally as part of its June 18 anniversary sales event. Hotel partners for the program include InterContinental Hotels Group PLC-owned InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, AccorHotels, The Ascott Ltd. and Wanda Hotels and Resorts Co. Ltd.

* Amazon.com Inc. founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased three apartments in New York in a deal worth about $80 million after looking for a place in the city for months, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* Lands' End Inc.'s diluted net loss for the first quarter of 2019 came in at 21 cents per share, wider than a loss of 8 cents per share in the year-ago period, while revenue declined 12.5% year over year to $262.4 million. The online retailer expects full-year diluted loss per share in the range of 23 cents to 16 cents, and net revenue to reach $285 million to $295 million.

* Findel PLC announced that it will change its name to Studio Retail Group PLC as it posted a 17.7% year-over-year jump in fiscal 2019 adjusted pretax profit to £28.8 million and a 5.7% increase in revenue to £506.8 million.

* Airbnb Inc. introduced a new structure that will require hotels and other hospitality businesses listing with the company to pay a fee of between 14% and 20% with no charges passed on to guests. The host-only fee structure is different from Airbnb's traditional setup where individual home hosts pay a service fee of 3% and guests pay up to 20%.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* L'Oréal SA's Modiface Inc. business rolled out its artificial intelligence-powered technology for Amazon.com customers in the U.S. and Japan in mid-2019, allowing virtual cosmetics trials and bringing more convenience to shopping on the e-commerce giant's platform. Through ModiFace, Amazon shoppers can now use their smartphone's camera to take a video or a selfie of them digitally trying on different makeup products before purchasing them.

* Henkel AG & Co. KGaA's adhesive technologies unit opened a €35 million production facility in Montornès del Vallès, Spain, that will specialize in developing high-performance solutions, such as light weighting, fuel efficiency and automation, for the global aerospace industry.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* J Sainsbury PLC CEO Mike Coupe was paid £3.9 million for fiscal 2018-19, compared with £3.6 million in the previous year, despite the British company's failed merger with Walmart Inc.-owned rival Asda Stores Ltd. "The business has hit a number of targets this year, including increasing profit, reducing net debt and increasing the dividend, which is why we have paid a bonus to eligible colleagues across the group," a company spokesperson reportedly told the Financial Times.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a tweet that he will call for the increase of Walmart Inc.'s minimum hourly wage to at least $15 from the current $11 when he attends the company's shareholder meeting June 5. Sanders is also expected to propose that hourly workers get a seat on the company's board.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* GameStop Corp. said its board scrapped the company's quarterly dividend with immediate effect after the video game retailer reported a double-digit sales decline for the first quarter of 2019. For the quarter ended May 4, GameStop's total global sales fell 13.3% year over year to $1.55 billion, while its diluted EPS of 7 cents surpassed the S&P Global Market Intelligence estimate despite decreasing from 30 cents in the year-ago period.

LEISURE PRODUCTS AND FACILITIES

* Mattel Inc.'s shares jumped as much as 12.02% after it entered into an international licensing agreement with Sanrio Inc., allowing it to design and develop a range of products inspired by Hello Kitty & Friends, Hello Kitty Cafe, and other Sanrio-trademarked characters.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the country's ban on destroying unsold or returned nonfood products will come into effect over the next four years, affecting many luxury goods and online retailers, The Guardian reported. Philippe's office reportedly said more than €650 million worth of new consumer products are disposed of or destroyed every year in France.

* Total retail sales in the U.K. slid 2.7% in May, or a fall of 3% on a like-for-like basis, versus a 4.1% growth in the same month in 2018, according to data from the British Retail Consortium. CEO Helen Dickinson said the sales decline, the worst since the record began in January 1995, was driven by political and economic uncertainty during the month and can lead to more job losses and store closures.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.50% to 26,895.44, while the Nikkei 225 gained 1.80% to 20,776.10.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 went up 0.59% to 7,256.51, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.77% to 1,037.96.

On the macro front

The U.S. ADP employment report, the U.S. services purchasing managers' index, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index, the U.S. Energy Information Administration petroleum status report and the U.S. Beige Book 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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