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India reviews Amazon, Flipkart discounts; 7-Eleven September sales down 3.1%

TOP NEWS

* The Indian government is reviewing complaints alleging that heavy discounts offered on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd. during their online festive sales violate foreign investment rules, a commerce ministry official told Reuters. India's new rules, introduced in February, discourage big online discounts to protect small-scale retailers. Flipkart said it was "deeply committed to doing business the right way in India," while Amazon said it has a high bar for compliance, the report added.

* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. said net sales of its overseas unit, 7-Eleven Inc., fell 3.1% in September. The Japanese company's general merchandising arm, Ito-Yokado, saw a 0.9% improvement in total sales during the month. Supermarket chain York-Benimaru's total sales decreased by 0.2%, while department store chain Sogo & Seibu's total sales surged 20.2%. Seven & i Food Systems Co. Ltd., which operates restaurant chain Denny's in Japan, saw its total sales improve 1% from the year-ago period.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Walmart Inc. is launching its InHome grocery delivery service in Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Pittsburgh; and Vero Beach, Fla. The service will allow Walmart associates to deliver groceries straight to a customer's kitchen or garage refrigerator.

* Food delivery company DoorDash Inc. is opening its first shared commissary kitchen, where multiple restaurants will offer delivery and pickup options, in Redwood City, Calif. The kitchen will be used by restaurants including Nation's Giant Hamburgers, Rooster & Rice, Humphry Slocombe and The Halal Guys.

* Uber Technologies Inc. has cut about 350 jobs across multiple divisions, including Uber Eats, CNBC reported, citing CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's internal email to employees. Uber did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

BEVERAGES

* Italian coffee-maker Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group SpA said it has acquired Brazil's Café Pacaembu Ltda. for an undisclosed sum.

* British pub operator Marston's PLC said it expects full-year pretax profit to decrease to about £101 million, compared to £104 million from 2018, due to lower earnings at its destination and premium pubs. The group's turnover was up 3% to £1.2 billion, while total pub sales increased by 3%.

* Starbucks Corp. opened its first store on the islands of Turks & Caicos, representing the coffee chain's 81st market globally. The U.S. coffee giant partnered with Caribbean Coffee Traders Ltd. for the launch of the café on the Grand Turk Cruise Port.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Norwegian seafood company Mowi ASA posted operational revenue of €146 million in the third quarter, as the company's Canadian operations caused a one-off cost of €5 million, according to its preliminary earnings report. Total harvest volume came in at 117,000 tonnes, compared to its own projection of 113,000 tonnes.

TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS

* Malaysia is considering a complete ban on the sale of e-cigarettes, amid rising reports of deaths in the U.S. linked to vaping, Reuters reported, citing Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad. The Asian country reportedly is finalizing a law that would ban the promotion and advertising of all smoking products, including e-cigarettes and vaporizers, as well as their use among minors.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Chocolate manufacturer The Hershey Co. named President and CEO Michele Buck as chairman of the board, effective immediately. Buck replaces Chuck Davis, who will reassume the role of lead independent director.

* Australian packaged food producer Beston Global Food Co. Ltd. said it completed the sale of its rock lobster licenses and quotas that are linked to seafood producer Ferguson Australia Pty. Ltd. for a consideration of A$7.5 million. Beston did not disclose the buyer.

* U.K. plant-based dairy company Rebel Kitchen will merge with local peer Nurture Brands Ltd., beginning January 2020, Just Food reported. The combined group would have a retail sales value of over £10 million, the report added.

RESTAURANTS

* Brazilian restaurant group Madero plans to launch an IPO in the second half of 2020, Reuters reported, citing founder Luiz Durski Jr.'s interview with Portuguese-language newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. Madero has 140 restaurants in Brazil that operate under the Madero Steakhouse, Madero Container and Jeronimo brands.

* Indonesian restaurant chain operator PT Champ Resto is considering an IPO that could raise about $150 million, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The restaurant operator may list as soon as in the first quarter of 2020, the sources added. Champ Resto did not immediately respond to Bloomberg's request for comment.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.07% to 26,503.93, and the Nikkei 225 lifted 1.87% to 22,207.21

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.30% to 7,191.84, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.50% to 1,095.97.

On the macro front

The Redbook Index for retail sales is 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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