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Mattress Firm files for bankruptcy; Saks hits Cartier with countersuit


* Mattress Firm Holding Corp. has filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy that will see the mattress retailer close up to 700 stores, with an initial round of 200 stores to close "in the next few days," under a 45- to 60-day restructuring plan. Steinhoff International Holdings NV-owned Mattress Firm said decisions on additional store closings will be made in the next few weeks.

* Hudson's Bay Co.-owned Saks Inc. sued Cartier International SNC for $55 million, countering the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA unit's claim that the department store operator breached their leasing agreement, The Business of Fashion reported. The French watchmaker previously alleged that Saks wants to have the lease for Cartier's prime in-store location to be terminated by Oct. 13, forcing Cartier to relocate. In its countersuit, Saks, which is renovating the first floor of its Fifth Avenue store, reportedly denied assuring Cartier that it would be able to stay on the ground floor of its New York flagship. Cartier did not respond to a request for comment, and Saks Fifth Avenue declined to comment further, the report added.


* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB is investing in Klarna Bank AB as part of a partnership that will see the financial technology firm providing online and in-store payments for the retailer. Although the size of the investment was not disclosed, an earlier report by the Financial Times (London) said the fast-fashion company is shelling out 185 million Swedish kronor to take a stake of less than 1% in the fintech firm.

* French Connection Group PLC confirmed in a stock exchange filing that its board is "currently reviewing all strategic options in order to deliver maximum value for its shareholders," including a potential sale of the company. The London-based apparel retailer has tapped Numis Securities Ltd. as its financial adviser for the offer period. The confirmation follows a Sky News report indicating that advisers to French Connection founder, chairman and CEO Stephen Marks approached potential bidders for his 42% shareholding "in the last few days."

* French fashion brand Carven is nearing a sale to Chinese company Icicle Fashion Group Co. Ltd., with a deal expected to be announced at the end of the week starting Oct. 8, a source told Women's Wear Daily. Shanghai-based Icicle reportedly emerged as the front-runner in the sale process, outbidding other potential buyers, including Iconix Brand Group Inc.'s Lee Cooper, Axara, Cashtex and Philippe Métivier. The report added that Carven declined to comment on the matter.

* The Italian Competition Authority began a probe into Luxottica Group SpA's €140 million acquisition of fellow eyewear company Barberini SpA, Reuters reported. The antitrust authority reportedly said the deal could "significantly hamper competition." The report comes shortly after Luxottica completed its merger with French lens-maker Essilor International SA to form EssilorLuxottica.


* Target Corp. will launch its Smartly personal care brand that includes more than 70 everyday items, most of which are priced at less than $2, online and in stores beginning Oct. 14, with new product rollouts until early 2019. The items are available for bulk orders and single purchases.


* Inc. informed customers that their email addresses were leaked to an outside seller and that the e-commerce giant has identified and fired the employee responsible for the incident, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company also said the merchant that received the information was blocked from its marketplace and that no other customer data was disclosed, the newspaper added. The news follows a report that Amazon is looking into claims that some of its employees have accepted bribes in exchange for giving out confidential information and other internal data to independent sellers on its online platform.

* Inc. is looking to buy retail locations in the U.K. with sizes ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 square feet to bring its checkout-free Amazon Go grocery stores to the region, The Times reported, citing industry sources. The name Amazon Go was trademarked in Britain in 2016, according to the report.

* Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd., now majority owned by U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc., is planning to enter India's insurance sector after acquiring a corporate agent license, The Hindu reported. The Indian e-commerce company has partnered with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd. to offer tailored insurance solutions for all mobile phones being sold on its platform, the newspaper said.


* Private equity firm KKR & Co. sold its 54.8 million shares in Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group Corp. in an oversubscribed offering, raising about $209 million, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed sources. Sources told Bloomberg that the shares were sold at 89,200 dong each, the midpoint of the offering's marketed range and a 5% discount to Masan's latest closing stock price.


* Supermarket operator Casino Guichard-Perrachon Société Anonyme could divest 20 of its loss-making Geant hypermarkets in France or transform them into franchises instead of closing the stores, Reuters reported, citing a company spokesman. The food retailer, which recently agreed to sell 55 of its Monoprix real estate assets for €565 million, may also convert the outlets into smaller-size stores or sell them to a rival retailer, the report added.


* U.K. home improvement retailer B&Q PLC announced restructuring plans that will result in the loss of 200 management positions and the move of 1,750 staff to "customer-facing" roles, Retail Gazette reported. The Kingfisher PLC unit aims to remove redundancy and improve efficiency by executing replenishments during the day, eliminating the need for overnight shift management and supervisor positions, the report added.


* Hospitality company Minor International PCL-owned MHG Continental Holding (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. launched a public cash offer to acquire all of NH Hotel Group SA shares it does not own for €6.30 per share, following approval from the Spanish Stock Exchange Commission.

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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 was down 1.39% to 26,202.57.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.56% to 7,277.39, and the Euronext 100 declined 0.74% to 1,031.23.

On the macro front

The TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index is 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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