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Hugo Boss profit jumps; Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman dies

TOP NEWS

* Hugo Boss AG on Aug. 2 reported net income in the second quarter of 2017 jumped to 57.6 million from 11.1 million in the same period a year earlier as the German apparel and luxury brand benefited from lower expenses. EPS climbed to 0.83 from 0.16. Sales inched up 2% year over year to 636 million from 622.1 million as same-store sales increased in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific regions. The company lowered its capex forecast to between €130 million and €150 million in 2017, from previous guidance of between €150 million and €170 million, as it postponed some of its store renovations to 2018. It confirmed its target of stable full-year sales and earnings in 2017.

* Costco Wholesale Corp. said Jeff Brotman, the co-founder and its chairman of the board, has died. Brotman, who was 72 at the time of his death, had served as the warehouse club company's chairman since 1994. In its statement, Costco said Brotman died early Aug. 1, but did not provide additional details.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Sportswear maker Under Armour Inc. on Aug. 1 cut its 2017 operating profit outlook by half, to between $160 million and $180 million and lowered its full-year revenue growth expectations to be between 9% and 11%, compared with its January estimate of between 11% and 12%. Separately, the company plans to slash about 280 jobs, or about 2% of its global workforce, after its board approved a restructuring plan to boost profit, CNBC reported, citing a company spokeswoman.

* Industria de Diseño Textil SA, or Inditex, plans to introduce its Pull&Bear and Stradivarius brands in Vietnam following the launch of Zara in September 2016, Retail News Asia reported. The two new brands will reportedly be on the second level of the same building that houses Zara, in Ho Chi Minh City's central business district. No official launch date has been announced, although it is reportedly likely before the end of 2017.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Three out of five of the top Japanese department store operators saw increased sales in July due to a rise in spending by upper-class consumers and foreign tourists, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Aug. 2. H2O Retailing Corp.'s Hankyu Hanshin department store sales reportedly rose 5.2% year over year, while Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. sales increased 0.8%. J. Front Retailing Co. Ltd.'s Daimaru and Matsuzakaya store sales reportedly grew 0.6%.

E-COMMERCE

* Amazon.com Inc. is reportedly launching in South Korea, but it may not be successful as the country already has an established e-commerce market, with local companies offering fast and cheap shipping services, according to BusinessKorea. The e-commerce giant, which operates its cloud services and overseas shopping businesses in the country, reportedly recruited dozens of workers in marketing, sales, technical support and service support related to online shopping business in its Amazon Korea operations on July 31.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES

* Chinese household appliance maker Haier Electronics Group Co. Ltd. is seeking a partnership with Japanese companies to gain technological know-how in six areas, including water temperature controllers, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The company reportedly requested Osaka Prefecture's Shanghai office and the Yokohama Industrial Development Corp. to help it reach out to Japanese companies.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Food-price inflation in the U.K. eased in July, a report released Aug. 2 showed, but the decline may be short-lived as the effects of a weaker British pound continue to play out. An index of shop prices compiled by the British Retail Consortium and consumer research company Nielsen indicated that food-price inflation slowed to 1.2% year over year in July, down from 1.4% in June as well as May. The May-July index readings are the highest since January 2014. Fresh food prices increased 1% year over year in July, down from 1.4% in June, while prices for ambient foods jumped 1.6% year over year in July from 1.5% in June. Nonfood prices in July fell 1.5% on a year-over-year basis compared with a drop of 1.4% in June.

* A growing number of South Korean customers shopping on smartphones helped mobile purchases grow 35.5% year over year to 3.75 trillion won in June, up from 2.77 trillion won in 2016, the country's Yonhap News Agency reported, citing government data. Mobile transactions reportedly accounted for 60.3% of overall online purchases in June. Cosmetics sales reportedly grew 31.8% year over year to 336.5 billion won, while apparel sales rose 27.1% to 417.8 billion won.

* Brands must adopt a data-driven, omnichannel approach to Generation Z customer loyalty and offer different channels to earn loyalty points, according to a report by loyalty and marketing analytics firm CrowdTwist. The report found that 75% of Generation Z consumers, or those born after 2000, are ready to share their personal information with brands in exchange for a more personalized experience, while 63% of them are enrolled in at least one loyalty program. Generation Z customers also rank beauty, media and entertainment among the top five categories for loyalty programs, with nearly 40% of them saying that playing games is their favorite way to earn loyalty points.

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