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Amazon trademarks 'Amazon Pharmacy' outside US; Miniso mulls US IPO

TOP NEWS

* Amazon.com Inc. applied to trademark "Amazon Pharmacy" in Canada and the U.K., following a similar filing with Australia's intellectual property office. This signals the e-commerce retailer's plan of selling prescription drugs outside the U.S. The trademark applications cover various classes of products, including surgical, medical, dental and veterinary instruments, as well as transport, scientific and insurance services.

* Variety store chain Miniso Co. Ltd. is considering an IPO in the U.S. instead of Hong Kong and is aiming to raise $500 million to $1 billion in the planned move, The Standard (Hong Kong) reported, citing media reports in mainland China. Miniso, which was co-founded by Japanese designer Miyake Junya and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu in Tokyo, now operates in more than 80 countries and regions through its company-owned stores, as well as those operated by franchisees.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton SE-owned fashion brand Kenzo launched a flagship store on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall Luxury Pavilion. The move makes Kenzo the first of LVMH's brands to have its own separate shop from its parent on the Chinese e-commerce platform.

* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB partnered with Sabyasachi to launch a wanderlust-themed collection April 16 in all of the company's stores in India and select international shops, as well as on H&M's online portal and Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd.'s Myntra platform. The Indian fashion designer, which operates five flagship stores across the country, aims to reach a global audience through the collaboration.

* Burberry Group PLC said third-quarter 2020 retail revenue rose 1% year over year, or 2% at constant exchange rates, to £719 million. The company saw comparable-store sales grow 3%, driven by full-price sales. The luxury goods retailer said it now expects total revenue for fiscal 2020 to increase by a low single-digit percentage at constant currency, compared with its previous guidance of broadly stable revenue.

* Ted Baker PLC said an independent review by accountants from Deloitte found that the company overstated the value of its inventory held on its Jan. 26, 2019, balance sheet by £58 million. The London-based retailer initially estimated a value impact of £20 million to £25 million on a noncash basis and related to prior years. Ted Baker's shares fell by as much as 10% following the announcement.

* The Unilever Group and JD.com Inc.'s logistics business will explore solutions for innovation and sustainable growth in a smart, digital supply chain, building on the existing relationship between the consumer goods company and the Chinese online retailer.

E-COMMERCE

* Amazon.com Inc. is expanding its on-demand delivery service Amazon Flex to Australia, starting with Sydney and Melbourne. The service, which was launched in September 2015, allows gig workers to earn money by delivering Amazon packages to customers.

* Indonesian e-commerce company PT Tokopedia is in the final stages of securing up to $1.5 billion in funds from investors, which include Singaporean wealth fund Temasek, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp., the Financial Times reported, citing several people familiar with the matter. Sources reportedly said the fundraising, which may come as soon as next quarter, is expected to value Tokopedia at $8 billion to $9 billion and could be the last one before a possible IPO. Tokopedia will use the additional funds to expand its reach in Indonesia's e-commerce market, the report added.

* China's Secoo Holding Ltd. will sell accessories and ready-to-wear apparel from Italian clothing company Valentino SpA on its platform, starting March.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Household products company Essity AB said adjusted EPS for fiscal 2019 amounted to 14.69 Swedish kronor, up 10% from 13.32 kronor in 2018, while net sales rose 8.8% year over year to 128.98 billion kronor, with 4.5% growth in organic sales. Essity's board also proposed increasing the company's dividend by 9% to 6.25 kronor per share.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* J Sainsbury PLC CEO Mike Coupe will retire in 2020 and will be succeeded in his role by Simon Roberts, the grocer's retail and operations director, effective June 1. Roberts was reported to be the internal favorite to replace Coupe. Separately, according to a Sky News report, Sainsbury's announced it will cut "hundreds of management roles" as part of its continued integration with retailer Argos. The company reportedly did not confirm how many people will be affected by the layoffs but said it will streamline its commercial, retail, finance, digital, technology and human resources teams. Shares of the British supermarket operator are down nearly 3% in midday trading.

* X5 Retail Group NV said total retail sales for fiscal 2019 rose 13.3% year over year to 1.728 trillion Russian rubles from 1.525 trillion rubles. On a like-for-like basis, group sales climbed 4% as store traffic increased 2%.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Metro AG shareholders Meridian Foundation and Beisheim Group have raised their stake in the German wholesaler and retailer to about 23% following the unsuccessful takeover of EP Global Commerce GmbH in 2019, Reuters reported, citing statements from Meridian, Beisheim and Metro. Financial terms of the share purchase were not disclosed. "The current stock price does not accurately reflect Metro's intrinsic value," the two shareholders reportedly said, while Metro responded by saying it welcomes the long-term commitment from Meridian and Beisheim.

* German supermarket operator Kaufland said it will withdraw from the Australian market, affecting 200 employees, and instead focus on its core European business. The company will discuss what to do with its Australian investments, such as retail outlets and distribution infrastructure, "in [the] coming days." Frank Schumann, the acting CEO of Kaufland International, said the retailer sees "a great deal of growth potential" in Europe and that the decision has nothing to do with the performance of its business in Australia.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Shipt LLC, a membership-based delivery service that Target Corp. acquired in 2017 for $550 million, has started offering same-day delivery services to customers of Office Depot Inc. The delivery provider will begin delivering business services, products and technology solutions from Office Depot and OfficeMax stores in more than 200 markets.

* WH Smith PLC's total revenue went up by 7% in the 20 weeks to Jan. 18, with a 1% decline in like-for-like revenue. Total revenue for the British retailer's travel segment jumped 19%, while its high-street business saw its revenue decline 5%.

* Pets at Home Group PLC reported that total revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2020 rose 7.9% to £255.9 million, driven by a growth of 7.2% in its retail business and 14.4% in its veterinary business. On a like-for-like basis, group revenue climbed 7.2%.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 1.27% to 28,341.04, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.70% to 24,031.35.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.02% to 7,608.82, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.15% to 1,163.07.

On the macro front

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index, the Redbook, the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index and the existing home sales 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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