* Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. posted double-digit percentage growth in earnings for full year 2018 as it reported sales that slightly missed analysts' expectations. For the year ended Aug. 31, the drug retailer reported adjusted diluted net EPS of $6.02, 18% higher than the $5.10 in the year-ago period and beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate for normalized EPS of $5.98. Revenue grew 11.3% year over year to $131.54 billion from $118.21 billion in 2017, slightly missing analysts' estimates for revenue of $131.92 billion compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. For fiscal 2019, the company expects adjusted EPS to grow between 7% and 12%, or a range of $6.40 to $6.70, at constant currency rates.
* Japanese retailer Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. delivered mixed fiscal first-half earnings in the face of a challenging environment for retailers, but the owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain maintained its forecast for fiscal 2019 profit. Seven & i reported that for the six months ended Aug. 31, net income attributable to owners of the parent rose 13.3% to ¥101.36 billion from ¥89.42 billion in the year-ago period. For the fiscal year ending Feb. 28, 2019, Seven & i reiterated its guidance for attributable net income of ¥210 billion and net income per share of ¥237.40.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Japan's Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. reported a 29.8% jump in profit for full-year fiscal 2018 following strong sales of its flagship apparel brand Uniqlo in its home market as well as overseas. For the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, profit attributable to owners of the parent came in at ¥154.81 billion, up from ¥119.28 billion in the year-ago period and beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate of ¥143.79 billion. The company also forecasts that attributable profit will grow 6.6% year over year to ¥165.0 billion for the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 2019, while revenue will rise 8% to ¥2.30 trillion.
* Authentic Brands Group and footwear retailer DSW Inc. teamed up to acquire fashion company Camuto Group Inc. for a total consideration of about $375 million. DSW said it will pay 200 million for all of Camuto's global production, sourcing and design infrastructure and a further $56 million to acquire a 40% stake in the intellectual property of Camuto Group's proprietary brands. Meanwhile, Authentic Brands will acquire the remaining 60% of Camuto's intellectual property but did not disclose the size of its investment.
* American Eagle Outfitters Inc. plans to hire about 22,000 part-time seasonal workers for its American Eagle and Aerie brands during a hiring event Oct. 14.
* LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE appointed Sophie Brocart as CEO of Jean Patou after it named Guillaume Henry serving as the brand's creative director, Women's Wear Daily reported. Brocart, senior vice president of fashion ventures at LVMH Fashion Group, was the CEO of footwear brand Nicholas Kirkwood.
* Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert does not plan to lend the department store operator more money to repay its $134 million debt, which is due Oct. 15, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The development comes a day after reports surfaced that Sears has hired investment and advisory firm M-III Partners LLC to work on its bankruptcy proceedings.
* Amazon.com Inc. will provide a higher raise to longtime warehouse employees after it faced a backlash for removing monthly bonuses and stock option awards for workers in the U.S. and U.K., the Associated Press reported, citing a statement from Amazon. In a statement, the company reportedly said it has been "adjusting site by site and person by person as needed since the announcement to ensure everyone experiences the benefit of this change."
* N Brown Group PLC reported that group revenue increased 1% year over year to £457.8 million for the first fiscal half of 2019, driven by a 12.7% increase in financial services revenue, significantly offset by a decline in offline sales. For the 26 weeks ended Sept. 1, the online retailer posted adjusted EPS of 8.37 pence, down by 4.6% from 8.77 pence in the year-ago period. N Brown's shares were down 21.35% to 108.94 pence at mid-morning trading in London.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s exiting chairman, Jack Ma, believes that the U.S. will "suffer more" from its trade dispute with China, the South China Morning Post reported, citing Ma's comments during a conference in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Alibaba executive vice president Joe Tsai reportedly said it is "ill-advised" for the U.S. to target China out of an "unfounded fear" that it will threaten its national security, adding that the move will cause "pain" to "everybody."
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* The primary U.S. antitrust regulator indicated it will approve of CVS Health Corp.'s pending $69 billion deal to acquire Aetna Inc. once both companies divest their Medicare Part D plans. The Department of Justice wrote in a news release that the divestiture would "fully resolve the Department's competition concerns" related to the planned tie-up. Separately, the pharmacy chain said it will name Eva Boratto, chief accounting officer and executive vice president, as CFO and appoint Edward Ludwig, Fernando Aguirre and Roger Farah to its board upon completion of its deal with Aetna.
* The Kroger Co. began rolling out meal kits by Home Chef at some of its stores in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, a few months after the U.S. supermarket chain completed its acquisition of the Illinois-based meal-kit delivery company.
* Tokyo-based convenience store operator FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co. Ltd. will sell its remaining 60% stake in its Uny Co. Ltd. subsidiary to Japanese general merchandise retailer Don Quijote Holdings Co. Ltd., which already holds 40% of Uny.
* Asda Stores Ltd. will challenge a ruling that its shop floor staff, most of whom are women, are comparable to its depot employees, who are mostly men, and therefore deserve the same wages, Retail Gazette reported. The move is a response to assertions by Leigh Day, a law firm representing 27,000 shop floor workers at Asda, that store staff deserve equal pay as those in distribution centers because their roles have equal value. "Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centers because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in distribution center are very different," an Asda spokesman reportedly said.
* Eurotorg LLC confirmed that it plans to float more than $300 million in global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange to raise about $200 million in primary proceeds to the Belarusian grocery chain. The company also appointed Piotr Nowjalis, Yulia Solovyeva and Nick Katselapov as independent nonexecutive directors, effective either after or immediately prior to the date of its admission to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority's standard segment.
HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS
* Costco Wholesale Corp. net sales in September grew 10.3% to $13.64 billion from $12.37 billion in the same month a year ago. For the five-week period ended Oct. 7, comparable sales of the warehouse club operator rose 8.4% year over year, with its U.S. business posting the highest growth rate at 10.4%.
* French retailer E. Leclerc SA is considering purchasing some of Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA Geant hypermarkets, Reuters reported, citing CEO Michel Edouard Leclerc's interview with French magazine Challenges. The news follows a report that the supermarket operator could divest 20 of its loss-making Geant hypermarkets in France or transform them into franchises instead of closing the stores.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* WH Smith PLC plans to close about six of its High Street stores after experiencing challenges in the business district despite a "good year" that resulted in a 3% year-over-year growth in group profit to £163 million for fiscal 2018. For the year ended August, the retailer posted headline EPS of 108.2 pence, up 4% from the year-ago period but slightly below the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of £1.09.
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LVMH shares drop 7% on fears of cooling luxury market in China
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 3.54% to 25,266.37, and the Nikkei 225 declined 3.89% to 22,590.86.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 1.65% to 7,027.61, and the Euronext 100 fell 1.70% to 991.57.
On the macro front
The consumer price index, the jobless claims report, the Energy Information Administration natural gas report, the Energy Information Administration petroleum status report, the Treasury Budget report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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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