* Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.'s first-quarter 2020 adjusted diluted EPS declined 6% to $1.37 from $1.46 in the year-ago period, missing the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of $1.41. Sales rose 1.6% year over year, or 2.3% at constant currency, to $34.34 billion. The company also maintained its forecast that adjusted EPS growth will be "roughly flat" on a constant currency basis in fiscal 2020. Shares of the pharmacy-led health and well-being company fell 4.69% to $56.51 in premarket trading Jan. 8.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is undercutting Amazon.com Inc.'s seller fees that it charges in Europe in a bid to attract third-party merchants in the region, Reuters reported, citing six sources with direct knowledge of the matter. A senior source close to the company reportedly said the online retailer has waived monthly seller rates in Spain and set commissions for goods sold at 5% to 8% in order to attract business. This compares with the monthly fee of €39 plus sales tax that Amazon charges its sellers, plus a 7% to 15% commission for every item sold, a spokeswoman told the news agency. The news outlet said Amazon declined to comment on AliExpress's plan to open its site to European sellers, while AliExpress head Wang Mingqiang told Reuters in an interview that foreign brands needed time to understand the e-commerce platform.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Italian luxury fashion company Brunello Cucinelli SpA reported that net revenue for fiscal 2019 rose 9.9% year over year, or 8.6% at constant currency, to €607.8 million from €553 million, driven by growth across all markets.
* Anne-Marie Muñoz, a key figure of Kering SA's Yves Saint Laurent, died Jan. 3 at 87 years old, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing confirmation from the Musée Yves Saint Laurent. Muñoz worked at the fashion house in 1963 alongside Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé until 2002.
* LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton SE appointed Hélène Valade as environmental development director, effective in the week of Jan. 6, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing a company statement. Valade reportedly will succeed Sylvie Bénard, who is expected to retire from her role as the company's environment director later in 2020. LVMH also named Yann Arthus-Bertrand as an advisory board member and Ismaël Emelien as a consultant on green topics, the magazine said.
* Watches of Switzerland Group PLC COO Tony Broderick will resign from the company, effective in April, Retail Gazette reported, citing a company announcement. The watch retailer reportedly also named Craig Bolton as U.K. executive director, effective immediately.
* Department store chain Bloomingdale's Inc. laid off "several dozen workers" as part of a larger restructuring plan by parent Macy's Inc., Women's Wear Daily reported, citing unnamed sources. The restructuring plan reportedly will be presented to investors Feb. 5 and will involve more job cuts and store closings. A Macy's spokeswoman reportedly said the company is implementing a number of organizational changes, which include reducing headcount and aligning teams and resources around its "most important strategies" in a bid to "set Bloomingdale's up for further success." The company had no comment on the precise number of workers that Bloomingdale's let go.
* Amazon.com Inc. teamed up with Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC to explore auto-replenishment technologies for consumer goods, a program that Amazon discontinued in August 2019. The British maker of health and household products said it will work with Amazon to develop an auto-replenishment system through Amazon Dash Replenishment. The companies provided prototypes of four RB products with smart auto-reordering capabilities during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
* JD.com Inc. priced its public offering of US$1 billion aggregate principal amount of notes. The offering consists of $700 million of 3.375% notes due 2030 and $300 million of 4.125% notes due 2050.
* Amazon.com is preparing to launch a luxury fashion platform in the U.S. in the first half of the year, with plans for an international rollout, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing industry sources. Sources reportedly said Amazon is building a warehouse in Arizona to accommodate the new platform. A spokeswoman for the e-commerce company said she could not "comment on rumors or speculation," the report added.
HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS
* New York-based cosmetics company Milk Makeup LLC named Tim Coolican, former president of L'Oréal SA's U.S. unit, as its CEO, effective Jan. 9, Women's Wear Daily reported.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* The proposed sale of Tesco PLC's retail operations in Thailand will be kept under close scrutiny by the country's competition watchdog, the Financial Times reported, citing an interview with Sakon Varanyuwatana, chairman of Thailand's Office of Trade Competition Commission. U.K.-based Tesco started a strategic review of its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia in December 2019 following "inbound interest." Varanyuwatana reportedly said he is prepared to impose fines or ban the sale of Tesco Thailand if the company breaches any laws during the sale process. Tesco did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.
* Asda Stores Ltd. named Anna-Maree Shaw as chief customer officer, effective at the end of January. It also promoted Anthony Hemmerdinger to COO and Mark Simpson as chief supply chain officer. The Walmart Inc. unit also appointed Helen Selby as general counsel and company secretary.
* British food retailer J Sainsbury PLC reported that total retail sales, excluding fuel, declined 0.7% year over year in the third quarter of fiscal 2019/20. On a like-for-like basis, sales also went down 0.7%.
* Caltex Australia Ltd. confirmed that it received an unsolicited takeover offer from EG Group Ltd. following a report by Bloomberg News, saying the British fuel station and convenience store operator has hired a financial adviser to help it evaluate an offer. "Caltex confirms it has had approaches from a number of parties, including EG Group, who have indicated that they are potentially interested in making a proposal to acquire Caltex or some of its assets," the company said.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* Steinhoff International Holdings NV is close to appointing a new slate of investment banks to help prepare for an IPO of its subsidiary Pepco Group, Sky News reported, without disclosing where it obtained the information. The South Africa-based retail group, which considered an IPO for Pepco in August 2019 to raise funds for its now-completed debt restructuring plan, did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence'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 lost 0.83% to 28,087.92, and the Nikkei 225 fell 1.57% to 23,204.76.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.02% to 7,572.52, and the Euronext 100 shed 0.04% to 1,152.67.
On the macro front
The ADP employment report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report and the U.S. consumer credit 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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