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Wolverine World Wide sells Sebago to BasicNet; Investor eyes change at Dillard's

TOP NEWS

* American footwear company Wolverine World Wide Inc. sold its Sebago brand to Italian footwear and accessories company BasicNet SpA for an undisclosed sum. Wolverine said the deal is part of a strategic initiative to trim the company's portfolio and focus on a fast-evolving consumer and global marketplace. BasicNet owns brands like Kappa and Superga, among others.

* Activist investor Snow Park Capital Partners is pushing for changes at department store operator Dillard's Inc. to capitalize on the retailer's real estate portfolio, Bloomberg reported July 31, citing an email from Snow Park Managing Partner Jeffrey Pierce. According to Pierce, a quarter of Dillard's real estate is in top-tier malls, which can generate about $650 per square foot in sales. "With an average sales per square foot of approximately $125, it's fair to say that Dillard's may not be getting the highest and best use for some or all of their owned space," Pierce said. Bloomberg also reported, citing an unnamed source, that Snow Park holds about 2% of Dillard's outstanding class A shares.

APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Japanese sportswear company Asics Corp. plans to expand its portfolio in athleisure, or apparel designed for sports and leisure, and aims to quadruple annual sales in the new apparel range to about ¥200 billion in 2020 from 2016, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The company, which will spend ¥20 billion a year advertising its athleisure range, reportedly forecast athleisure products to comprise about 30% of its sales in 2020 from about 10% in 2016. Asics' flagship store in London, slated to open in summer 2017, will reportedly resemble an apparel store, and the company expects to renovate its about 1,000 stores in and outside Japan.

* Kering SA-owned Saint Laurent will launch online sales in China, The Wall Street Journal reported July 31, citing the fashion house's CEO, Francesca Bellettini. Bellettini said in an interview with the newspaper that the French luxury brand will offer goods on a new online platform that was recently announced by U.K. luxury fashion e-retailer Farfetch as part of a joint venture with Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. She added that Farfetch's collaboration with JD could help protect Saint Laurent from counterfeiting. The luxury brand will also begin offering same-day delivery in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, with a goal of having 90-minute deliveries available in those cities starting in October.

E-COMMERCE

* SoftBank Vision Fund, owned by SoftBank Group Corp.'s chairman, is in talks to invest between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in India's e-commerce giant Flipkart India Private Ltd within the next two months, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The move comes after SoftBank-backed e-commerce portal Snapdeal turned down an offer from Flipkart to merge as a single entity and take on Amazon.com Inc. in the country. Flipkart did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comment, while a SoftBank spokeswoman declined to comment, saying SoftBank Vision Fund independently manages its investments.

PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Japanese beauty retailer Shiseido Co. Ltd. said it will launch its Nars brand in China in response to rising incomes and the popularity of cosmetic products, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. Nars products will reportedly be available online through Chinese e-commerce site WeShop, and its store will open in Shanghai's Raffles City in August. The company predicts a 14% increase in sales in China after the Nars launch.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPER CENTERS

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc. named new executives in charge of its food and merchandising businesses, Reuters reported Aug. 1, citing two internal memos dated July 28. Martin Mundo, who previously worked for Wal-Mart in Argentina, succeeds Shawn Baldwin as senior vice president and general merchandise manager for produce and global food sourcing. Baldwin takes on a new initiative for Hispanic customers. The U.S. retailer also reportedly split the management of its bakery and deli businesses. Kerry Robinson heads bakery operations, and Tyler Lehr takes on deli services. In merchandising, Wal-Mart reportedly named Deanah Baker as head of apparel, shoes and accessories. The company did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

* South Korean hypermarket operator E-MART Inc. will open its first flagship store in Cambodia by the first quarter of 2019 after signing an agreement with Cambodian conglomerate Royal Group on July 28, the country's Khmer Times reported July 31. The store, which indicates the first collaboration in Cambodia's retail sector between a South Korean company and a Cambodian group, would be built on three hectares of land along Russia Boulevard. E-MART also operates in China, Mongolia and Vietnam.

SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Japanese consumer electronics group Sony Corp. said on Aug. 1 that net income for its fiscal first quarter more than tripled on stronger sales and proceeds from the disposal of Sony Electronics Huanan Co., a Chinese subsidiary that manufactures camera modules. The maker of smartphones and cameras said net income attributable to shareholders for the three months ended June 30 surged to ¥80.87 billion from ¥21.17 billion a year earlier. Net income beat the analysts' mean consensus of ¥66.10 billion, according to S&P Capital IQ. The Tokyo-based company also lifted its sales outlook for the year ending March 2018 to reflect changes to its currency exchange-rate assumptions.

* American leisure products company Hasbro Inc. on July 31 said that its new animated series, "Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters," will premiere worldwide on internet television network Netflix Inc., beginning late 2017. The company also added that the show, featuring 26 episodes, is the first Hasbro brand to get a Netflix original series.

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