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Sears said to hire advisers for bankruptcy filing; LVMH Q3 revenue up 9.6% YOY

TOP NEWS

* Sears Holdings Corp. may file for bankruptcy as soon as the week of Oct. 8, having hired investment and advisory firm M-III Partners LLC to work on the proceedings, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the situation. Sources told the newspaper that staff of the New York-based advisory firm went to the department store chain's headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., to prepare a potential bankruptcy filing as Sears faces an Oct. 15 deadline for a $134 million debt payment.

* LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE's revenue rose 9.6% in the third quarter of 2018 to €11.38 billion from €10.38 billion in the year-ago period, continuing a strong sales run, boosted by growth across all business groups and in all regions. LVMH, the owner of a collection of fashion houses that include Christian Dior, Céline and Givenchy, said revenue for the first nine months of 2018 rose 10% to €33.13 billion from €30.1 billion reported in the same period in 2017.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* MCM Worldwide, owned by South Korean conglomerate Sungjoo Group, appointed former Adidas AG creative director Dirk Schönberger as its global creative officer with immediate effect, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing a company statement. Schönberger, who will be in charge of building MCM's design studio in Berlin where he will oversee product design, marketing and art direction, reportedly told the magazine that he expects to hire up to 25 people for his team.

* Levi Strauss & Co.'s third-quarter net income soared 48% year over year to $130.1 million as a result of investments that the company made "over the last couple years," Women's Wear Daily reported, citing President and CEO Chip Bergh. Net revenue came in at $1.39 billion, up 9.9% from $1.27 billion in the year-ago period, its fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth and putting it on track to exceed $5 billion in sales this year.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Nordstrom Inc. will close its store at the Providence Place mall in Rhode Island on Jan. 4, 2019, affecting about 187 non-seasonal employees. The department store chain, which said it is working with impacted employees "to determine their next steps," will maintain its presence at the city via its Nordstrom Rack store in Warwick Mall and online.

E-COMMERCE

* Chinese travel services provider Ctrip.com International Ltd. plans to launch a 24/7 customer center for its Trip.com brand in Seoul, South Korea, to cope with growing local demand, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing CEO Jane Sun. The plan includes airport pick-up services and sales of activity products in South Korea by the end of 2018, Sun reportedly said during a press conference in Seoul.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* The U.S. government gave The Procter & Gamble Co. an exemption from its 25% tariff on steel imports used by the consumer goods giant to produce razor blades, Reuters reported, citing a company spokesman, Damon Jones. Steel imported from Japan and Sweden is used to make blades for P&G's Gillette and Venus razor brands, the report said.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* J Sainsbury PLC is looking to fill 5,500 seasonal jobs, while its Argos Ltd. unit is looking to hire 6,000 workers for the upcoming Black Friday and Christmas periods. Available jobs include cashiers, online assistants and delivery drivers. The company also is offering extra hours for existing workers in the run-up to Christmas.

* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. said total sales in September for its Seven-Eleven Japan stores increased 7.7% year over year as same-store sales rose 5.1%. Customer numbers fell 2.2%, but average spending per customer rose 7.5%. Meanwhile, Seven-Eleven Japan's store count increased to 20,600 during the month from 20,596 in August.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Walmart Inc.'s Canadian business has researched selling cannabis-based products, but there are no immediate plans to delve into the business, the company said in a statement provided to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The cannabis-based product, known as cannabidiol or CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. Recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada beginning Oct. 17.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Ikea's fiscal 2018 sales rose 4.5% year over year as the home furnishings retailer added new stores and extended its online reach, said Inter Ikea Systems BV, owner of the Ikea concept and global franchiser. The privately held Swedish company reported that sales in the year ended Aug. 31 climbed to €38.8 billion as it opened new stores in India and Latvia and launched e-commerce in Belgium, Romania and Malaysia.

* Toy retailer FAO Schwarz Inc., owned by ThreeSixty Group Ltd., confirmed reports that it will launch its 20,000-square-foot comeback flagship store Nov. 16 at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The company will also roll out 89 pop-up outlets in Canada through a partnership with Hudson's Bay Co., a flagship store in China in March 2019, as well as pop-up locations in the U.K., Spain and Australia later in the year.

* U.K. appliances maker Dyson Ltd., popular for its cyclone vacuum cleaners, unveiled a hair styling product called Airwrap, a blow dryer and hair curler combination that costs at least £399.99, the Financial Times reported.

* Mattel Inc. CEO Ynon Kreiz said the toy retailer aims to "capture value from our intellectual property" through its entry in areas such as movies, TV, live events, games and consumer merchandise, CNBC reported. Mattel Films, which is led by movie producer Robbie Brenner, is hoping to mirror Hasbro Inc.'s success in using its properties to foray in highly creative business areas through Hasbro Studios.

HOTELS, CASINOS AND GAMING

* Paddy Power Betfair PLC said it would pay an additional £20 million of betting duty in Ireland for the year ended June 30 following the government's announcement that it will increase the rate of betting duty payable, effective Jan. 1, 2019. The Irish government will hike its betting duty rate to 2% from 1% and the rate of duty of betting exchange commissions from customers to 25% from 15%.

* Las Vegas' Scientific Games Corp. agreed to acquire Don Best Sports, supplier of real-time betting data and pricing for U.S. sporting events, expanding the company's business-to-business sports betting offering. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is estimated to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.

EDUCATION SERVICES

* Navitas Ltd. received an unsolicited, preliminary, conditional and non-binding proposal from former CEO Rodney Jones, along with private equity firm BGH Capital and investment manager AustralianSuper to acquire the Australian education services provider for A$5.50 per share in cash. The company said it will review the proposal, subject to a significant number of assumptions and conditions, and will provide its shareholders with the review's outcome "in due course." BGH also entered into an agreement with Jones and AustralianSuper, under which Navitas' co-founder and former executive will sell 50% of his shares in Navitas for cash and roll over his remaining 50% shareholding into a newly formed unlisted company.

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.08% to 26,193.07, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.16% to 23,506.04.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.01% to 7,238.30, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.56% to 1,025.23.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the Producer Price Index-Final Demand report, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report and the Wholesale trade 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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