* Amazon.com Inc. opened a second Amazon Go checkout-free grocery store in Chicago, with a third one planned to open "soon," the Chicago Tribune reported, citing Dilip Kumar, vice president of technology for Amazon Go and Amazon Books. The opening of Amazon Go's second Chicago store, which covers 1,200 square feet of retail space, follows its first launch in the city on Sept. 17, according to media reports.
* Patrick Grismer resigned as CFO of Hyatt Hotels Corp., effective Nov. 2, to assume the same role in Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks Corp. beginning Nov. 12. Grismer will replace Scott Maw, who announced his departure plans in June. The luxury hotel and resorts company named Joan Bottarini, senior vice president of finance for the Americas at Hyatt, to succeed Grismer.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., operator of the Uniqlo apparel chain, formed a strategic partnership with logistics company Daifuku Co. Ltd. aimed at getting products to customers faster. Under the agreement, the Japanese companies will develop, build and maintain fully automated warehouses for Fast Retailing in Japan as well as overseas.
* Japanese apparel and accessories company Onward Holdings Co. Ltd. appointed commercial director Axel Keller as the new CEO of its German luxury brand, Jil Sander, Women's Wear Daily reported. Keller succeeds Alessandra Bettari, who will remain in the group as vice president, the report said.
* Marks and Spencer Group PLC said Tesco commercial director George Wright will join the department store operator in a similar role in late 2019. In addition, the company said April Preston, in charge of transforming Harrods Food Hall, will return to M&S as product development director in November.
* Some advertisers are shifting 50% to 60% of their Google LLC ad budgets, amounting to "hundreds of millions of dollars a year," to Amazon.com Inc., CNBC reported, citing executives at two media agencies. Although the Alphabet Inc. unit is not seeing the trend, Google "leadership is definitely concerned" about the growing number of clients selling exclusive brands on the online retail giant's platform, the report added, citing a Google ad sales manager. Amazon and Google did not respond to requests for comment, CNBC said.
* Italian menswear label Ermenegildo Zegna will launch a virtual pop-up store on JD.com Inc.'s dedicated luxury platform, Toplife, as the brand looks to expand its reach in China by tapping into the country's luxury consumers.
* Amazon.com Inc. will allow entrepreneurs in India to build their own logistics companies delivering Amazon packages, expanding the program that it launched in the U.S. in June, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing sources aware of the development. A pilot of the program, dubbed Project Armada, already began in Delhi, sources reportedly said, adding that Amazon also partnered with other logistics companies in India to lease out and supply vehicles to entrepreneurs in the country.
* Amazon India denied allegations by a local lobby group that it gives preferential treatment to select merchants and brands that it partly owns, Reuters reported, citing spokeswoman Bhumika Shah. The All India Online Vendors Association, which represents more than 3,500 online sellers, reportedly filed a petition with the Competition Commission of India, claiming that Amazon-backed merchants are charged significantly less than the company's advertised rates. Shah told Reuters in an email that "Amazon has an equal relationship" with all the sellers on its platform, adding that the company is committed to complying with local laws.
HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS
* South Korean cosmetics producer Skinfood filed for a court-led restructuring scheme after the company experienced "difficulty in securing liquidity due to excessive debt," Yonhap News Agency reported, citing a company official. The skincare manufacturer sought court receivership to settle its debt and normalize the business, the Skinfood official reportedly said, adding that the company plans to expand its online channels to better meet global demand in the long term.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC will launch its appeal against a December 2017 High Court ruling, which found the U.K. retailer "vicariously liable" for a data breach in 2014, Retail Gazette reported. The incident involved information such as bank account details, salary information, national insurance numbers, addresses and phone numbers of 100,000 staff leaked by a disgruntled employee to the internet, the report said. Morrisons reportedly will seek to reverse the court's decision, denying all legal responsibility and leaving 5,518 claimants without any compensation.
* Former Tesco PLC executives Chris Bush and John Scouler "coerced" employees to improperly include income in financial records before they were earned, inflating the retailer's profits by £250 million, the Financial Times reported, citing prosecutor Sasha Wass' statements to the jury. Wass reportedly told the jury at Southwark Crown Court in England that the two former senior executives "actively encouraged those working beneath them" into "unorthodox" practices and "pressurized" junior employees who objected.
HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS
* German retailer Metro AG said its digital unit, Hospitality.digital, agreed to acquire Czech restaurant reservation service provider Restu from venture capital company Miton CZ sro for an undisclosed amount.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* Garmin Ltd.-owned Italian marine navigation firm Navionics SpA inadvertently exposed 19 gigabytes worth of sensitive customer and product data after a misconfiguration incident on its MongoDB platform last month, according to a blog post by cybersecurity firm Hacken. In a statement to Hacken, Navionics said it "takes data protection very seriously" and that it has "immediately investigated and resolved the vulnerability," adding that none of its records or data were accessed, exfiltrated or lost. Navionics also said it emailed affected customers by Oct. 8.
* Sony Corp. is working on "a next-generation hardware" that will follow its PlayStation 4, the Japanese consumer electronics giant's president and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, told the Financial Times in an interview. However, Yoshida declined to call the company's future gaming console "PlayStation 5." Yoshida's confirmation comes as debate over how Sony should address the $70 billion global smartphone gaming market intensifies, the report said.
* British retail sales in September rose at the slowest rate since October last year, the British Retail Consortium-KPMG sales survey showed, as consumers continued to restrain spending after a summer of spending. Total sales in September edged up 0.7% compared to an increase of 2.3% in September 2017. "This is the lowest since October, excluding Easter distortions, and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.2% and 1.3% respectively," the survey noted.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.11% to 26,172.91, and the Nikkei 225 declined 1.32% to 23,469.39.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.32% to 7,209.38, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.39% to 1,024.09.
On the macro front
The Redbook 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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