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Seven-Eleven Japan underpaid staff; Ted Baker CEO, chairman step down


* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd.'s Seven-Eleven Japan unit has underpaid more than 30,000 workers across its 8,129 stores since March 2012, Reuters reported, citing a Japanese-language press release. Seven & i reportedly estimates that it has underpaid workers a total of about ¥490 million. The company was alerted to the mistake by Japan's labor watchdog in September, confirming earlier reports on the matter.

* Ted Baker PLC issued a profit warning, suspended its dividend and said CEO Lindsay Page and Executive Chairman David Bernstein have resigned from the company, effective immediately. The U.K. apparel retailer now expects pretax profit for the fiscal year ending Jan. 25, 2020, to be between £5 million and £10 million, compared to its previous guidance of £50 million to £60 million.


* Lululemon Athletica Inc. said Stuart Haselden will step down as COO and executive vice president of its international business, effective Jan. 10, 2020. The company has started an external search to fill the position of executive vice president. In addition, Chief Technology Officer Julie Averill and Chief Supply Chain Officer Ted Dagnese will join the company's senior leadership team, effective immediately.

* Swedish fast-fashion retailer H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB tapped Dutch parcel delivery company to deliver H&M packages by bicycles in the Netherlands.

* Destination Maternity Corp. canceled its bankruptcy auction after accepting Marquee Brands LLC's $50 million bid for its brand name and other assets, Bloomberg News reported, citing a court filing. The move reportedly makes it likely that the bankrupt retailer will pursue its plan to close its remaining 235 locations, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

* Fosun International Ltd. wants to tap into the Chinese market to boost its struggling fashion arm, which manages its overseas brands like Lanvin, the Financial Times reported, citing Fosun Fashion Group Chairman Joann Cheng. Lanvin is expected to open three locations in China in 2019, the report said.

* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB said it is aiming to cut its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and its scope 3 emissions by 59% per product before 2030. It also plans to increase sourcing renewable electricity within scope 2 to 100% by 2030.

* Paul Price, CEO of Arcadia Group Ltd.'s Topshop business, resigned from the role to relocate back to the U.S., Retail Gazette reported, citing an Arcadia spokesman. Arcadia CEO Ian Grabiner is expected to assume Price's responsibilities in the interim, the report added.


* Hudson's Bay Co.'s special committee said it was "disappointed" by the Institutional Shareholder Services' recommendation that shareholders turn down the take-private offer led by Executive Chairman Richard Baker. The committee called the ISS report "flawed."

* Mothercare PLC said group adjusted loss before tax for the fiscal first half of 2019/2020 improved 44.8% year over year to £5.8 million from £10.5 million. Group loss before tax from continuing operations came in at £21.2 million, compared to a loss of £18.5 million in the year-ago period. Total group revenue slid 13.2% year over year to £234.1 million from £269.8 million as worldwide sales declined 8.4%.

* Debenhams PLC said John Walden and Kevin Conroy have been named nonexecutive directors of its parent company Celine Jersey Topco Ltd. Walden was formerly CEO of Home Retail Group PLC, while Conroy is the founder and CEO of advisory firm Conroy Media.


* Stitch Fix Inc. shares rose 10.8% in after-market trading after it posted diluted EPS of $0.00 for the first quarter of 2020, ahead of the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP loss estimate of 6 cents. Net revenue jumped 21% year over year to $444.8 million as active users on its platform grew 17% to 3.4 million. The company also named Bain & Co.'s digital practice leader, Elizabeth Spaulding, as president, effective Jan. 27, 2020.

* African e-commerce company Jumia Technologies AG will exit Rwanda weeks after it closed its operations in Cameroon and Tanzania, lowering its presence to 11 countries on the continent, the Financial Times reported, citing co-CEO Sacha Poignonnec. "It is in the normal life of a company to adjust the focus, but the strategy remains very much the same," Poignonnec reportedly said. The company's shares have fallen nearly 90% since it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in April, the report added.


* German consumer goods producer Beiersdorf AG bought a "significant stake" in South Korea-based LYCL Inc., which owns a skincare brand and runs a review and content platform for beauty products.

* Beiersdorf AG joined the Global Shea Alliance, which promotes sustainability in the collection of shea butter, a raw material for many of the company's products.


* Canadian food company Metro Inc. sold its MissFresh ready-to-cook meal brand to fellow Montreal-based food retailer, Cook it, for an undisclosed amount.

* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. said sales in its Seven-Eleven Japan business rose 2.8% year over year in November as same-store sales grew 1.1%. Customer numbers declined 2% from the year-ago period but average customer spending rose 3.2%. Store numbers fell to 20,974 from 20,986 from in October.

* The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery fined CVS Health Corp. $3.6 million for failing to collect recycled bottles and cans at 81 of its stores across the state or for failing to pay the daily fee of $100 for not redeeming them.


* Steinhoff International Holdings NV's London-based subsidiary Pepco Group plans to expand the presence of its Poundland discount chain to Greece and Italy, the Financial Times reported, citing CEO Andy Bond. Bond reportedly said the move could help double Poundland's profits over a five-year period. He added that there is no decision yet regarding whether Pepco will be sold or floated by its parent, Steinhoff.


* Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. sold its stake of nearly 50% in Wag Labs Inc. back to the California-based dog-walking startup, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. An internal company memo from CEO Garrett Smallwood reportedly said Wag was letting go of a "significant" number of its workers as the company tries to align the organization with its business needs.


* Retail imports at major U.S. container ports surged 8% year over year to about 1.95 million 20-foot equivalent units in November as retailers stocked up ahead of more China tariffs in December, the National Retail Federation said. NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said the direct impact of new tariffs will not be seen until the holiday season is over as merchandise for the period has already arrived in the U.S.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.22% to 26,436.62, and the Nikkei 225 decreased 0.09% to 23,410.19.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 decreased 0.93% to 7,166.27, and the Euronext 100 decreased 1.04% to 1,111.47.

On the macro front

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, Productivity and Costs and Redbook 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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