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Sears files for bankruptcy as CEO resigns; Amazon Fashion to open UK pop-up


* Edward Lampert stepped down as CEO of Sears Holdings Corp. with immediate effect but will remain its chairman as the struggling U.S. department store chain filed for bankruptcy protection early Oct. 15. In a statement released shortly after its bankruptcy filing, Sears said its board created an office of the CEO that will now be responsible for managing Sears' day-to-day operations during the bankruptcy process. The filing, made with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, came as an Oct. 15 due date arrived for Sears to make a $134 million debt payment.

* Inc.'s fashion arm will open its first U.K. pop-up store on Baker Street, London, on Oct. 23-27. Amazon Fashion's store will cover more than 3,000 square feet and offer items for purchase in-store or through the Amazon mobile app's SmileCode scanning technology, to be delivered to customers' home, work or Amazon locker pickup address.


* Footwear-maker Asics Corp. will launch a host of robots in the spring of 2019 to take over one-third of the production at its facility in Japan's Tottori Prefecture, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The move, which cuts by half the number of workers required, enables the Japanese company to respond to quickly changing consumer tastes. Asics reportedly did not disclose the cost of the robots and their installation.

* Icicle Fashion Group acquired French retailer Carven SAS for about €6.5 million from an investor group comprising Bluebell Asia Ltd. and Turenne Capital Partenaires, as well as Carven President Henri Sebaoun. Icicle also committed to invest €8 million into Carven and plans to relaunch the apparel brand in France, China and globally. Carven's management team will temporarily be made up of Icicle founder and President Shawna Tao and Icicle Paris CEO Isabelle Capron.

* Superdry PLC warned that profit will decrease by about £10 million for full year 2019 as demand for winter and autumn items declined due to hot weather conditions. It also expects additional foreign exchange costs of about £8 million for the year. Superdry shares fell more than 22% in early trading in London after the announcement. Separately, the company opened an official flagship store on Inc.'s platform to expand its presence in China.

* A Canadian judge ruled in favor of The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., which sought to have Deciem founder Brandon removed as co-CEO and have Nicola Kilner serve as the skincare company's sole interim CEO, Women's Wear Daily reported. Estée Lauder, a minority shareholder in Deciem, sued Truaxe after the founder announced on Instagram that Deciem will temporarily close all of its stores due to "major criminal activity" among its staff.


* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. appointed Lei Wang to head its new local services unit comprising its food delivery service and its restaurant review and local services platform Koubei, the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) reported, citing a company statement. Alibaba Vice President Wang resigned as CEO of Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd. in April to become CEO of The report said Koubei's head, Chi Fan, will report to Wang and continue to lead the Koubei business.

* Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google LLC plans to launch a shopping tab on its website in India for users to search for products and be directed to merchant sites and e-commerce platforms, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. A Google spokesperson reportedly confirmed the plans. One of the sources reportedly said Google is in talks with companies such as Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. and Paytm Mall to participate in the initiative and that a full-fledged launch is expected to happen before 2018-end.


* India's consumer major Hindustan Unilever Ltd. reported diluted EPS in the second fiscal quarter of 7.04 Indian rupees, beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate for GAAP EPS of 6.72 rupees. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Indian company's sales of products amounted to 91.38 billion rupees, up from 81.99 billion rupees in the same period a year ago.

* Beiersdorf AG appointed deputy chairman Stefan De Loecker as chairman of the executive board, effective Jan. 1, 2019. De Loecker will succeed Stefan Heidenreich, who is expected to step down Dec. 31.


* Casino Guichard-Perrachon Société Anonyme agreed to supply 12 supermarkets operated by the Quattrucci family, beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Under the partnership, seven of the stores will join Casino Group's "marché frais Géant" banner, while the other five will operate under the "marché frais Leader Price" banner. In a separate release, Casino Group agreed to sell a 24% stake in its energy solutions business, GreenYellow, to Tikehau Capital and Bpifrance through a €150 million capital increase, which GreenYellow will use to accelerate its development in France and abroad. The deal is expected to close by December.


* Retail giant Walmart Inc. acquired lingerie retailer Bare Necessities, which will operate as a stand-alone and complementary brand to Walmart's other e-commerce sites. As part of the deal, CEO and co-founder of Bare Necessities Noah Wrubel will lead the intimates category for both and Walmart-owned e-commerce retailer Wrubel will also continue to run Bare Necessities.

* Wesfarmers Ltd.'s Coles unit posted first-quarter 2019 total sales of A$9.84 billion, up 5% year over year from A$9.37 billion a year earlier, led by a 5.8% year-over-year growth in sales from its supermarket segment. For the 13 weeks ended Sept. 23, the Australian retailer reported that supermarkets sales reached A$7.66 billion, higher than the A$7.24 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, sales for Coles' liquor division grew 2.1% to A$744 million from A$729 million in the year-ago quarter, while convenience store sales climbed 2.5% year over year to A$1.44 billion from A$1.4 billion a year earlier.


* Ceconomy AG CEO Pieter Haas resigned from his position, effective immediately, while CFO Mark Frese agreed to continue in his role until the company names a successor and "to find an amicable revocation of his employment contract." Frese, along with management board member Dieter Haag Molkenteller, will serve as interim co-CEOs until a replacement for Haas is appointed.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 1.38% to 25,445.06, while the Nikkei 225 fell 1.87% to 22,271.30.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 shed 0.06% to 6,991.79, and the Euronext 100 dropped 0.38% to 985.06.

On the macro front

The retail sales report, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey and the business inventories 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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