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Report: Trump to target Amazon; Report: Amazon hires staff for housekeeping biz

TOP NEWS

* U.S. President Donald Trump is thinking of ways to go after Amazon.com Inc., particularly because of its tax treatment and "cushy" treatment from the U.S. Postal Service, which he believes is leading to the demise of brick-and-mortar sellers, Axios reported. Speaking to reporters, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House has "no specific policies or actions" that it is pushing forward or considering taking against Amazon. Shares of the Seattle-based retailer lost 4.38% on March 28 to close at $1,431.42.

* Amazon.com Inc. is hiring housekeeping staff as direct employees for its Amazon Home Assistants house-cleaning offering, in a move to differentiate itself from rival Angie's List Inc. that matches third-party contractors to customers looking for a service provider, Bloomberg reported. The success of the program, currently in its test phase, reportedly may lead to the retail giant expanding into other service-aligned categories including home improvement services as well as assembly and installation services.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* French company Kering SA is ending its 17-year-old partnership with Stella McCartney Ltd. and selling its 50% stake in the business to Stella McCartney for an undisclosed amount, making the British designer the sole owner of her namesake fashion house. A spokeswoman told Reuters that the luxury goods group will continue its support and services to Stella McCartney for a year, and the deal is expected to close by the end of first quarter of 2019.

* Apparel retailer PVH Corp. reported that non-GAAP EPS in its fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 29 jumped to $1.58 from $1.23 a year earlier, beating a mean consensus estimate of $1.47, according to S&P Capital IQ. Revenue climbed 19% year over year to $2.50 billion from $2.11 billion on strong performances from its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands. PVH forecast non-GAAP EPS for the quarter to the end of April 2018 between $2.20 to $2.25, up from $1.65 a year ago.

* Lululemon Athletica Inc. CFO Stuart Haselden attributed the 42% growth of its e-commerce business for the quarter ended Jan. 28 to the relaunch of the company's online platform, helping the sportswear retailer remain on track to achieve its revenue target of $4 billion by 2020.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Retailers including Target Corp. and ALDI Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG are among the potential buyers for several stores of Toys R Us Inc., which recently began liquidation sales for its 735 U.S. outlets, CNBC reported, citing court documents. Target and Aldi are both looking at a site in Kendall, Fla., while discount retailer Big Lots Inc. is bidding on stores in Fresno, Calif.; Exton, Pa.; Durham, N.C.; Woodbridge, Va.; and Indianapolis. Golf & Tennis Pro Shop Inc., which owns PGA Tour Superstore, is vying for the same Indianapolis store as Big Lots, as well as a store in Vernon Hills, Ill.

E-COMMERCE

* Japanese internet service provider Rakuten Inc. will absorb its Fablic Inc. unit, effective July 1, as it aims to improve the quality and operations of its customer-to-customer services.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is still open to doing a deal in the wake of CVS Health Corp. bid to buy Aetna Inc. CEO and Executive Vice Chairman Stefano Pessina said during a call to discuss fiscal second-quarter results. Co-COO Alexander Gourlay said the chain is planning to pilot a new store format at certain locations "in the coming months" after Pessina indicated that Walgreens would be open to a deal that helps revamp its retail footprint. For the three months to Feb. 28, the Deerfield, Ill.-based company reported an adjusted diluted EPS of $1.73, higher than the mean consensus estimate for normalized EPS of $1.55 compiled by S&P Capital IQ.

* Shares of X5 Retail Group NV jumped 9.5% in late-morning trading in London after the Russian food retailer reported that net profit in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017, more than doubled year over year to 5.42 billion Russian rubles from 2.42 billion rubles. Revenue accelerated 23% year over year to 361.71 billion rubles from 294.18 billion rubles as the retailer added 2,934 new stores in 2017, taking its total to 12,121. Its ratio of net debt to EBITDA fell to 1.73x, the lowest in its history.

* South Korean convenience store operator GSRetail Co. Ltd., owner of the lalavla brand, formerly Watsons, will add up to 300 health and beauty stores in 2018 in order to tap into the country's growing personal products market, Yonhap News Agency reported.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Walmart Inc. will enroll all of its suppliers in China in an emissions reduction program called Project Gigaton as part of the company's move to cut 1 billion tonnes of its global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* South African lawmakers said a proposal to pay bonuses to board members of embattled retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV "unseemly and bordered on being provocative" and urged a rethink of the plan. In addition, legislators decided to subpoena Steinhoff's former CEO, Markus Jooste, who had declined an invitation to appear before parliamentary committees conducting hearings into Steinhoff.

* Consumer electronics manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG Electronics Inc. and Sony Corp. are slashing prices of their premium television sets by as much as 44% amid growing competition in the sector, industry watchers told Yonhap News Agency.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.24% to 30,093.38, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.61% to 21,159.08.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.40% to 7,072.99, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.39% to 1,010.74.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Chicago PMI report, the consumer sentiment report, the EIA natural gas report, the fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

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