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Unilever Q3 underlying sales up 3.8%; Carrefour Q3 sales jump to €21B

TOP NEWS

* Unilever PLC reported a 4.8% decline in third-quarter revenue for 2018 partly due to the effects of foreign currency translation, although underlying sales rose 3.8% as the company saw improved growth across all divisions. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company, whose Amsterdam-listed entity is Unilever NV, said revenue in the three months through September fell to €12.53 billion from €13.17 billion in the same period a year ago. A mean consensus of analysts' estimates had pointed to revenue of €12.55 billion, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Carrefour SA posted total sales of €21.09 billion for the third quarter, an increase of 2.1% on a like-for-like basis compared with a year prior, helped by sales growth of 1.6% in France and 5.1% in Brazil. The French hypermarket operator also provided other updates on its Carrefour 2022 transformation plan that was first announced in January, including the implementation of its purchasing alliances with Tesco PLC and Système U that were formed earlier in the year.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Bankrupt retailer Nine West Holdings Inc. filed an amended Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan that is expected to reduce the company's pre-bankruptcy debt by over $1 billion. The proposed plan will provide a cash recovery of $105 million to stakeholders via the settlement of potential claims against the company's indirect equity owners. It also expects to receive a three-year purchase commitment from department store chain Belk Inc. for an assortment of its merchandise.

* New Look Retail Group Ltd. will close its remaining 120 stores in China by the end of December 2018, as part of its plan to exit the country altogether. The company's local subsidiary, New Look Commerce (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., will halt operations shortly after the closing date. New Look, which will focus on supporting "all affected staff during this time," said the move comes after years of low profitability and performance below expectations.

E-COMMERCE

* Amazon.com Inc. will employ more than 100,000 people to fulfill orders across its U.S. operations during the 2018 holiday season. The e-commerce giant said the seasonal workers will be paid $15 an hour to help fulfill customer orders, sort packages and load trucks, among other tasks.

* Qurate Retail Inc. will combine the U.S. operations of QVC and Home Shopping Network, or HSN, to form a new business entity called QXH, putting approximately 2,075 jobs at risk. The U.S. retail group said the purpose of HSN and QVC's merger is to ensure an aligned approach to the U.S. market and to leverage the combined scale and resources of the two units, among other reasons. Meanwhile, the Colorado-based company added that QVC U.S. President Steve Hofmann will leave the group, effective Oct. 19, as his role will be eliminated upon completion of the units' combination.

* EBay Inc. is suing Amazon.com Inc. for allegedly poaching sellers on its marketplace, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the lawsuit filed in Santa Clara, Calif. According to the report, eBay is accusing the e-commerce titan of infiltrating its internal member email system to lure high-value eBay sellers to Amazon.

* Amazon.com Inc. is looking for a location in Queretaro, a small state in central Mexico, for its fourth distribution center in the country, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. According to the newswire, Amazon is searching for a 50-acre property where it can commission a warehouse spanning over 1 million square feet, plus office space.

* JD.com Inc. will expand its in-house logistics network to include a parcel delivery service for customers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Customers, using the JD.com mobile application, will be able to ship packages, including luxury products and high-end consumer electronics, intracity and across mainland China through a variety of same-day, next-day and two-day delivery options.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Fater SpA, a joint venture between The Procter & Gamble Co. and pharmaceutical company Angelini, is creating a sustainable recycling loop for dirty diapers in Italy, Reuters reported. The company cannot sell the output of its recycling operation until it proves there is a market for it, but P&G vice president Roberto Marinucci said the consumer goods giant may use Fater's plastics output for its bottle caps.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* Nestlé SA reaffirmed its full-year guidance for 2018 as it reported a 2.9% increase in total sales in the third quarter of the fiscal year, driven by strong organic growth in North America and for infant nutrition globally. For the nine months to the end of September, the Swiss food and beverage giant's sales came in at CHF66.42 billion, up 2% from CHF65.12 billion in the same period a year ago. For 2018, Nestlé said it expects organic sales to grow 3%, and underlying trading operating margin improvement in line with its 2020 target. Separately, Nestlé said Wan Ling Martello, CEO of the company's Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa, or AOA, division, will leave the company, effective Dec. 31, and will be replaced by Chris Johnson, head of human resources and business services.

* X5 Retail Group NV sales for the third quarter of 2018 increased 17.6% year over year to 372.81 billion Russian rubles, driven by a 0.5% increase in like-for-like sales and a 0.9% growth in store traffic.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Walmart Inc.-owned Sam's Club will expand its same-day grocery delivery service with Instacart to over 100 outlets by October-end, covering nearly 1,000 new ZIP codes and 90 new markets across the U.S. following its pilot in February. Instacart customers also will gain access to Sam's Club stores without a membership, enabling them to purchase exclusive Sam's Club items at lower, member-only pricing.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Panasonic Corp. will halt the production and sale of 31 types of its mercury lamps at the end of June 2020 and will recommend that users shift to alternatives that have light-emitting diodes, The Japan Times reported, citing a company statement. The move reportedly comes ahead of Minamata Convention on Mercury's expected prohibition of high-pressure mercury lamp production and sale starting 2021.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Retail sales in the U.K. fell more than expected in September, with food store sales logging the biggest decline in nearly three years at 1.5%. Sales volume fell 0.8% month over month in September, following an upwardly revised increase of 0.4% in August, the Office for National Statistics said. The Econoday consensus forecast sales would slip 0.3% in September.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.80% 22,658.16, while the Hang Seng fell 0.03% to 25,454.55.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.10% to 7,047.51, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.33% to 1,004.38.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook survey, the leading indicators report, the Energy Information Administration natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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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