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Bang & Olufsen slashes FY'19/20 outlook; Bed Bath & Beyond in management cull

TOP NEWS

* Electronics retailer Bang & Olufsen A/S's shares fell 14% in morning trading after it slashed its outlook for fiscal 2019-2020. It now expects revenue to decline 13% to 18% year over year and its EBIT margin to range between negative 4% and negative 9%, having previously guided for growth in both metrics. The company anticipates revenue for the second quarter to drop 31% to 627 million Danish kroner as sales in November "were considerably lower than expected." It attributed the decline to increased competition within the true wireless earphones market and slower sales execution in relation to product launches.

* Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. closed Dec. 17 up 11.2% after it said its chief merchandising officer, chief marketing officer, chief digital officer, chief legal officer & general counsel, and chief administrative officer will leave the company as part of an extensive restructuring designed to streamline decision-making. Bed Bath & Beyond also said its chief brand officer resigned in the week of Dec. 9. The company said it is looking to fill the roles of chief merchandising officer, chief digital officer, general counsel, and chief marketing and brand officer.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Kering SA appointed its COO Mehdi Benabadji as CEO of its Brioni menswear brand, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

* Lawyer Michael Avenatti pleaded not guilty to an indictment that accuses him of attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike Inc., Reuters reported. Avenatti reportedly declined to comment after the hearing. The case is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 21, 2020, the report said.

E-COMMERCE

* Groupon Inc. named John Higginson as chief technology officer. Higginson will join Groupon from fintech company Enova International Inc.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. completed its acquisition of HAVE & BE Co. Ltd., the South Korean company behind skin care brand Dr. Jart+.

* Nivea-owner Beiersdorf AG said it plans to purchase 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of 2019. It also aims to cut its energy-related carbon dioxide emissions per manufactured product by 70% by 2025 versus 2014 levels.

* Whirlpool Corp. will recall more than 500,000 washing machines sold in the U.K. and Ireland over a fire risk caused by overheating, the Financial Times reported, citing a company statement. There have been 80 reports of fire incidents from 2014 to 2018 but no major injuries, the newspaper said.

* Personal-care-products maker Kimberly-Clark Corp. said Fabian Garcia resigned from its board of directors, effective immediately, to focus on his new role as president of The Unilever Group's North America segment.

* Natura Cosméticos SA named Nancy Killefer, Andrew McMaster Jr. and W. Don Cornwell as board directors, effective following the closing of the Brazilian company's acquisition of Avon Products Inc. in the first quarter of 2020.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Household appliances company Mohawk Group Holdings Inc. will begin selling its products in China from the first quarter of 2020 through Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall platform.

* Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. will invest 2.95 billion Indian rupees to build a new factory for wiring devices, electrical wire and switchgear in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The site, which will be Panasonic Corp.'s fourth electrical equipment material production base in India, is expected to begin operations in the fall of 2021.

* Ulta Beauty Inc. named Kecia Steelman, chief store operations officer, to the expanded role of international president. It also promoted Monica Arnaudo to chief merchandising officer, Shelley Haus to chief marketing officer and Prama Bhatt to chief digital officer.

* Plumbing products business Ferguson PLC appointed Simon Oakland as interim CEO of its Wolseley UK Ltd. unit. Oakland will replace Mark Higson, who will leave the company Jan. 31, 2020, to pursue other opportunities. Ferguson said Wolseley UK's demerger is "well underway" and is expected to close in 2020.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 0.15% to 27,844.21, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.55% to 23,934.43.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.13%% to 7,535.25, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.05% to 1,141.47.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status report 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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