* Consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, which makes Nurofen painkillers and Durex condoms, plans to reorganize its businesses to provide a "platform for growth" and reported that third-quarter net revenue shrank 1% as it dealt with the impact of a cyberattack and challenging market conditions. The Anglo-Dutch company said in an Oct. 18 statement that it would create two focused units, RB Health and RB Hygiene Home.
* Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s startup-buying strategy will continue as the company looks to buy brands with footprints in specific markets, CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S. Marc Lore said at a conference Oct. 17, according to TechCrunch. Lore reportedly said the company is especially interested in buying businesses that focus on technology, retail and digital-native brands.
* Chinese e-commerce company Vipshop Holdings Ltd. said Marc Jacobs, owned by French luxury brand LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, opened its exclusive flagship online store in China on the company's VIPLUX portal. Marc Jacobs' 2017 fall and winter collections are also available on VIPLUX, Vipshop said.
* U.K. department store operator Debenhams PLC will open its first store in Australia on Oct. 24, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The 3,600-square-meter store in Melbourne will primarily sell fashion apparel and cosmetics and will be run via a partnership with South African retailer Pepkor Ltd., the newspaper added.
* U.S. retailer Target Corp. has voluntarily recalled about 7,500 Room Essentials-branded leather pouf ottomans, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on its website. The commission said that zippers on the ottomans can be opened and children could suffocate or choke on the pouf's polystyrene beads. The pouf was sold at Target stores in the U.S. and online from June through August.
* Chinese e-commerce company JD.Com Inc. announced that it is launching a retail marketing initiative with Tencent Holdings Ltd. that will see the Chinese companies share data in order to more accurately target consumers. The e-commerce giant said it will combine its online and offline shopping data with user information from Tencent's social media platforms, which include the messaging app WeChat.
* Chinese retailer JD.Com Inc. said it will offer free delivery to customers in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan during China's annual Singles' Day shopping festival, the South China Morning Post reported. The company, which will expand its services to Hong Kong for the first time during the Nov. 11 festival, reportedly said its long-term goal is to sell products to consumers worldwide.
* Amazon.com Inc. began selling electronics items like television sets, mobile phones and laptops from third-party vendors in Brazil, marking an expansion from selling only books in the country, Reuters reported. Alex Szapiro, Amazon's country manager in Brazil, reportedly declined to state any plans for the e-commerce giant to stock its own electronics inventory or open a fulfillment center for third-party items in the future.
* Indian e-commerce portal Flipkart India Pte. Ltd. beat market competitor Amazon.com Inc.'s India unit Amazon India Ltd. in holiday season sales for the second consecutive year, The Times of India reported, citing industry sources. Flipkart reportedly sold 50% of total online sales during the period, up from 45% in 2016, while Amazon India's share remained unchanged at 35% of total sales.
* Online meal kit service provider eMeals said it integrated Amazon.com Inc.'s grocery delivery service AmazonFresh as part of its strategy to use existing grocery supply chains to fulfill orders. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Walmart Grocery, Kroger Co.'s ClickList and Instacart are already a part of the company's list of fulfillment choices.
FOOD AND DRUG RETAILING
* U.K. food retailer J Sainsbury Plc is slashing 2,000 jobs as part of its £500 million cost-cutting drive, The Telegraph reported. Sainsbury's reportedly cut about 1,400 payroll and human resources jobs. A Sainsbury's spokesman reportedly confirmed that the company is restructuring human resources functions at its banking arm and its subsidiary Argos Ltd., which could lead to 600 more jobs being axed.
* U.S. drug retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said it will establish a new technology center at its Chicago office, adding about 300 technology jobs in the process. The positions would be filled with a combination of new hires and relocations from its Deerfield, Ill., office, the company added.
* U.S. home appliances maker Whirlpool Corp. submitted a demand to the country's International Trade Commission seeking a punitive tariff of 50% imposed over the next three years on washing machines sold by South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Yonhap News Agency reported. The move follows the ITC's decision announced Oct. 5 that increased imports of washing machines made by the two South Korean companies harm U.S. producers.
* Online retail sales in the U.S. are expected to surpass $1 trillion in 2027, compared with the projected $445 billion in sales in 2017, according to a report by business advisory firm FTI Consulting Inc. U.S. online retail sales during the second quarter of 2017 rose 15.5% year over year. The report also forecast that Amazon.com Inc. will make up more than half of U.S. online sales by 2027, compared with its share of 34.2% in 2017.
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