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Under Armour CEO resigns from Trump's council; JD.com misses profit expectations

TOP NEWS

* Under Armour Inc. founder and CEO Kevin Plank said he is stepping down from President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council, joining resignations by leaders of Merck & Co. Inc. and Intel Corp. after Trump's response to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. "Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics," Plank said in a statement, adding that the company will focus on promoting "unity, diversity and inclusion." This comes shortly after Merck Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier, the only black executive on the council, resigned from the group after Trump did not specifically address white supremacists and neo-Nazis in denouncing the violent events in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, which led to the death of a 32-year-old woman.

* Chinese e-commerce operator JD.com Inc. said its loss widened in the second quarter due to increased spending, mainly on logistics and marketing. The Beijing-based operator of direct online sales platforms and marketplaces also said it is launching its own luxury goods platform later this year and that it was open to acquiring other platforms as it seeks to latch on to expanding demand for luxury goods in China. For the three months ended June 30, JD.com booked a net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of 496.38 million yuan, compared with a loss of 252.31 million yuan a year earlier. Diluted earnings per American depositary shares totaled a loss of 35 cents, compared with a mean consensus estimate of a loss of 12 cents, according to S&P Capital IQ. Meanwhile, revenue jumped 43.6% to 93.2 billion yuan from 64.9 billion yuan.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Target Corp. hired two new executives to focus on its food retail operations. Mark Kenny, a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive, will become a vice president in charge of divisional, meat and fresh prepared food, while Liz Nordlie, formerly of General Mills Inc., will be a vice president in charge of product design and development for food and beverage. Both will start their jobs at Target by the end of August.

* Target also said it plans to acquire delivery services firm Grand Junction Inc. in a move to boost the retailer's home-delivery services. The San Francisco-based company sells software for managing local deliveries using a network of more than 700 carriers, according to Target's announcement of the agreement. The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Target said it has already deployed Grand Junction's technology at its store in New York's Tribeca neighborhood.

E-COMMERCE

* Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other online retailers can credit their growth in China to local internet celebrities called "Wanghong" who are believed to have generated $8.68 billion in sales in 2016, the South China Morning Post reported. One of the most popular Wanghong said her online clothing store's sales hit 608 million yuan in 2016, and she expects her store's revenue to exceed 1 billion yuan this year. Alibaba's chief strategy officer, Zeng Ming, told the newspaper that the success of Wanghong is determined by three factors: online retail platforms with a massive customer base, frequent interaction between retailers and buyers, and a "rapidly responsive" supply chain.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

* Sears Holdings Corp. and Whirlpool Corp. will pay $2 million less in legal fees as part of a settlement for a class-action lawsuit over defective washing machines, Reuters reported. The reduction was made by a federal appeals court in Chicago regarding the case in which consumers alleged that Whirlpool washing machines bought at Sears had defective control units and mold. The sum owed to the plaintiffs' lawyers was cut to $2.7 million from $4.77 million because, according to a lower court judge, the case "wasn't very complex." The plaintiffs' lawyers did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

FOOD RETAILING

* U.K. food retailer J Sainsbury Plc is delaying a £130 million bid for convenience store operator Nisa Retail Ltd., The Guardian reported. This came after the Competition and Markets Authority noted concerns about a similar merger between Tesco Plc and the grocery wholesaler Booker Group Plc. Sainsbury's remains interested in the deal and decided to pause its takeover talks until it gets a better understanding of how the CMA would review any deal, the report said, citing a source close to the matter. Both Sainsbury's and Nisa declined to comment.

SPECIALTY RETAIL

* A federal judge in New York said Tiffany & Co. may recover at least $19.4 million in damages after suing Costco Wholesale Corp. for selling counterfeit diamond engagement rings labeled "Tiffany," Reuters reported. The judge said the jewelry company deserves $11.1 million plus interest, representing triple the loss it incurred from Costco's trademark violation, plus $8.25 million in punitive damages. Costco said it plans to appeal the ruling. Tiffany originally sued Costco on Valentine's Day in 2013.

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