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Target to buy same-day delivery service; watchdog to oppose BP, Woolworths deal

TOP NEWS

* Target Corp. agreed to acquire delivery platform Shipt Inc. for $550 million in cash as the off-price retailer aims to provide same-day delivery to major markets before the 2018 holiday season. Shipt will be a wholly owned Target subsidiary, although the Alabama-based delivery company will continue to run its own business operations and partner with other retailers for last-mile delivery.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission intends to oppose BP Plc's proposed acquisition of Woolworths Ltd's retail service stations, citing concerns over potential increases in fuel prices. According to the regulator, U.K. oil and gas company BP currently supplies fuel to about 1,400 branded service stations across Australia, setting prices at about 350 of them, while Woolworths currently operates 531 service station sites, with another 12 in development.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Luxury brands are raising prices in Japan as a weaker yen and robust tourist demand boost sales, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. Balenciaga reportedly will raise prices Dec. 18 on some apparel and leather goods by 9% to 13%, following a recent markup on other Kering SA brands Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta. According to the Nikkei, Burberry Group Plc also raised prices of high-end items in November, while LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE-owned Céline lifted prices on some products in October.

* More than 70% of Sports Direct shareholders rejected the proposed £11 million payout to John Ashley after legal advisers RPC found the apparel retailer owed him a "substantial remuneration," Retail Week reported. The former executive's brother Mike Ashley, who is Sports Direct's founder, CEO and executive director, reportedly abstained from the vote.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* South Korea's Lotte Mart, a subsidiary of department store chain Lotte Shopping Co. Ltd., plans to cease cigarette sales in 2018 in support of the country's antismoking policy, Yonhap News Agency reported. The discount retailer also will create nutritional items in its push to be a health-focused company, the report added, citing CEO Kim Jong-in.

E-COMMERCE

* Amazon.com Inc. expanded its Prime free same-day delivery and one-day shipping to members in over 8,000 cities and towns for the holiday shopping season. Customers of the e-commerce giant can place orders until Dec. 23 for items to be shipped the next day and until 9:30 a.m. ET on Dec. 24 to have their orders delivered the same day.

* JD.com Inc. teamed up with real estate developer China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. to open hundreds of unmanned convenience stores across China, with a pilot model already being tested at its Beijing headquarters. Under the partnership, the Chinese e-commerce giant will utilize its smart technology and provide logistics and supply chain support, while China Overseas Land will provide store spaces. A timeline for store launches was not given.

* Online retailer eBay Inc. agreed to buy e-commerce research platform Terapeak, which would combine the Toronto-based company's technology with eBay's vendor portal Seller Hub after the deal closes. The deal is expected to help the e-commerce company's merchants in scaling their businesses, said Terapeak President and CEO Kevin North. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Global beauty products manufacturer L'Oréal SA is launching an organic hair dye called Botanea by May 2018 in Europe to tap into the growing consumer demand for healthier formulas, Reuters reported. The vegan hair dye, developed using ingredients from three kinds of Indian plants, will be aimed at professionals for use in salons.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* Kroger Co. expects to take a one-time $410 million non-cash liability hit following its withdrawal from the Central States Pension Fund, an agreement established with labor union International Brotherhood of Teamsters, or IBT. The U.S. supermarket chain and IBT created a labor fund called International Brotherhood of Teamsters Consolidated Pension Fund, which secures a pension for employees in Krogers' Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana and Michigan facilities.

* Krazy Glue, the super-glue brand of houseware distributor Newell Brands Inc., unveiled its Krazy Store holiday pop-up shop in New York City, showing the strength of its products by suspending popular holiday gift items in the air.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc. teamed up with financial technology startups Even and PayActiv to provide employees financial planning services through its Even app. Staff can use the app to access advance wages up to eight times per year for free and manage bills, allowing Wal-Mart workers a better view of their money and savings goals.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* South African retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV said accounting issues that are currently under investigation also impact its 2016 results, and its consolidated financial statements for that year need to be restated. Steinhoff, which has seen its share price collapse since disclosing Dec. 6 that it appointed an independent auditor to probe accounting irregularities, said its 2016 financial statements could no longer be relied upon.

* Toy company Hasbro Inc., e-commerce juggernaut Amazon.com Inc. and 42 other companies signed a license agreement with the Indian unit of global entertainment producer Walt Disney Co. for "The Last Jedi," the latest installment in the "Star Wars" franchise, India's Mint reported. The movie, which is scheduled for an Indian release of Dec. 15, reportedly is projected to generate about 2 billion rupees in merchandise sales.

* Personalized stuffed-toy retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. partnered with Nintendo Co. Ltd. to roll out new products depicting characters in the Japanese company's famous video game Super Mario. The collaboration includes clothing and accessories licensed under the Super Mario brand, apart from the customizable toys.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Black Friday online promotions, particularly for electrical goods, helped fuel a 1.6% year-over-year rise in U.K. retail sales volume in November, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics. The performance was boosted by 8.6% month-over-month sales growth in electrical appliances.

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