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Tesco's Q1 sales jump 1.8%; McDonald's to replace plastic straws

TOP NEWS

* Grocery retailer Tesco PLC reported its best quarterly performance since 2011 in terms of like-for-like sales with a 1.8% year-over-year growth in the category in the fiscal first quarter of 2019. The improvement during the 13-week period ended May 26 was due to a 3.5% year-over-year increase in like-for-like sales recorded in the U.K. and Ireland. The British retailer, however, experienced some setbacks in the overseas markets, with a decline of 1% in its like-for-like sales in Central Europe.

* U.S. fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. will begin using paper straws in lieu of plastic ones in all of its U.K. and Ireland establishments in September after a successful trial in select restaurants this year, BBC reported. The change will reportedly be completed next year. Paper straw trials will also begin in selected McDonald's restaurants in the U.S., France and Norway, the report said.

FOOD RETAIL AND DISTRIBUTION

* Walmart Inc.-owned Sam's West Inc. will open a 32,000-square foot store in Dallas in the fall that will be focused on fresh food and grab-and-go meals. The store, which will carry the Sam's Club brand, will be equipped with new technologies, including self-service returns, digital price tags and a Scan&Go feature, which will allow shoppers to check out using a smartphone.

PACKAGED FOODS

* BRF SA's board appointed Pedro Parente as the food processing company's CEO, Reuters reported, citing a Brazilian securities filing. Parente already serves as the chairman of the Brazilian poultry supplier and is the former CEO of state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

* Kellogg Co. recalled its Honey Smacks cereal because of a possible salmonella contamination after U.S. authorities informed it of reported illnesses. Subject to the recall are 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce boxes of the cereal distributed across the U.S. and in limited quantities in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Spain. The cereal giant launched an investigation with the third-party manufacturer that produces the cereal.

* Nestlé SA appointed Chris Johnson, head of Nestlé business excellence and a member of the group executive board, as head of group human resources, effective August 1. He will succeed Peter Vogt, who will take retirement at the end of July.

BEVERAGES

* U.S. bottled-water company Essentia Water LLC is eyeing a sale and has hired Credit Suisse Group AG to run an auction, CNBC reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The company hopes to fetch $500 million or more in a sale. Essentia Water, which has its own proprietary ionization process, could reportedly attract beverage giants like Nestlé SA, PepsiCo Inc., Danone and Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV to consider a bid. Essentia and Credit Suisse declined to comment, the report said.

* Shipments of Pernod Ricard SA's Australian wine brand, Jacob's Creek, have been delayed at Chinese ports as the relationship between China and Australia deteriorates, Reuters reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. The French wine company is the first foreign company to be affected by the tension, the report said. According to the report, shipments from six Australian wine companies have been held up by Chinese customs after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull complained of Chinese political interference in late 2017. China's customs reportedly did not respond to faxes requesting comments on the delays, the report added.

TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS

* The tobacco industry is looking to secure control of a "track and trace" system, which is recommended by the United Nations to counter smuggling to monitor the movements of cigarettes around the world after it has been alleged that the industry is complicit in the illicit trade of its products, The Guardian reported, citing a detailed study from the University of Bath's Tobacco Control Research Group. According to the study, two-thirds of smuggled tobacco products are reportedly genuine, and tobacco companies have allegedly allowed their products to be smuggled to evade high taxes.

* The French government will force tobacco companies to contribute towards the cleanup of cigarette butts if they do not take voluntary action to eliminate the waste in the next three months, Reuters reported, citing Brune Poirson, junior environment minister. The government, an official reportedly said, will not be brutal on the method and it may consider mandatory recycling scheme as an option. British American Tobacco PLC said it would cooperate to educate smokers and distribute pocket ashtrays, but it rejected the idea of new taxes, the report said.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.43% to 30,309.49, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.50% to 22,851.75.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.75% to 7,707.44, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.15% to 1,076.62.

On the macro front

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the Treasury International Capital report are due out today.

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