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Lowe's to buy price optimization platform; Wynn in talks to sell Boston casino

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Lowe's to buy price optimization platform; Wynn in talks to sell Boston casino

TOP NEWS

* Lowe's Cos. Inc. said it will acquire the retail analytics platform of technology developer Boomerang Commerce Inc. for an undisclosed amount, in a bid to modernize and digitize its approach to pricing. The technology will be integrated into Lowe's stores and will enable the company to make data-driven pricing and merchandise assortment decisions. The deal includes proprietary technology and tools for the California-based company's retail analytics platform but excludes customers' contracts and related confidential data. Following completion of the acquisition, CommerceIQ, Boomerang Commerce's product that serves as an end-to-end platform for consumer brand manufacturers, will be named CommerceIQ.ai and operate as an independent business led by founder Guru Hariharan as its CEO.

* Wynn Resorts Ltd. is in talks with MGM Resorts International to sell its Encore Boston Harbor resort in Massachusetts, the companies said in a joint statement. "They are very preliminary and of the nature that publicly traded corporations like ours often engage in, and in fact when opportunities such as this are presented, we are required to explore," the companies said in the statement. The luxury resort is scheduled to open in June. The hotel and casino operators added there is no certainty that a deal could be reached.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* The U.K.'s top competition watchdog said it is investigating JD Sports Fashion PLC's previously announced acquisition of apparel retailer Footasylum PLC in a deal valued at £90.1 million. The Competition and Markets Authority issued an initial enforcement order related to the deal which it says could reduce competition in the market.

* LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE said it will not follow Kering SA's move to ban the hiring of models less than 18 years old, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing Antoine Arnault, head of communication and image at the luxury group. "Let's not kid ourselves: It's not because one group bans these models that they will stop working. On the contrary, we provide them with a protected environment, so I am totally against this ban on models aged under 18," Arnault reportedly told reporters on the sidelines of the Viva Technology conference in Paris. The report comes days after Kering, which owns the Gucci, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen brands, announced that it will no longer hire models under 18 years old beginning next year.

* Nike Inc. is revising new contracts for female athletes to protect their salaries during pregnancy, The Wall Street Journal reported. Previous contracts allowed the footwear retailer to cut athletes' pay if they did not meet performance thresholds for any reason, including pregnancy. Nike told the Journal it changed the policy in 2018 but did not write the change into existing contracts.

* L Brands Inc. declared a dividend of 30 cents per share, payable June 14 to shareholders of record on May 31. The dividend amount is unchanged from the previous quarter, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* The U.S. arm of discount chain Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG announced that it plans to open 25 stores by the spring of 2020. The new locations will be in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. The expansion is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs. Lidl US also said it will close two stores in Rockingham and Kinston, N.C., in the summer of 2019, and affected staff will be given the opportunity to relocate and work at other sites.

E-COMMERCE

* Pinduoduo Inc. reported that non-GAAP attributable net loss for first quarter 2019 widened to 1.38 billion yuan from 267.9 million yuan in the same period a year prior. For the three months to March 31, the online retailer posted adjusted diluted loss of 1.20 yuan per share, compared with 60 fen in the year-ago period, better than the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized loss estimate of 1.78 yuan per share. Total revenue for the quarter jumped 228% year over year to 4.55 billion yuan from 1.38 billion, primarily driven by the company's online marketing services.

* Online grocer Ocado Group PLC has commenced a formal consultation process for its Andover distribution center in Hampshire, England, The Guardian reported, citing a company statement. The facility caught fire in February due to an electrical fault in a battery-charging unit. Ocado reportedly said it is consulting with warehouse staff about possible redundancies, putting up to 400 jobs at risk. About 450 workers will retain their jobs, including delivery drivers, but picking and packing staff are expected to transfer to Ocado's other operations, the report added.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Coty Inc. appointed Fiona Hughes as chief marketing officer of its consumer beauty unit and an executive committee member. Hughes previously was chief marketing officer at beverage company Jacobs Douwe Egberts. Her appointment will take effect on June 12.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Walmart Inc. has unveiled its plans for its new high-tech headquarters complex in Bentonville, Ark., which it expects will help it lure talent and accelerate its digital transformation. Walmart plans to open the new headquarters gradually between 2020 and 2024, the retailer said in a blog post without disclosing the cost of the headquarters. Walmart expects to start demolition, infrastructure and utility construction in summer 2019, while designing and construction of support and office buildings is expected to start in the next 18 to 24 months.

* Spencer's Retail Ltd.'s board approved its acquisition of Natures Basket Ltd. from Godrej Industries Ltd., according to a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange. Spencer's Retail plans to buy the grocery chain for a cash consideration of 3 billion Indian rupees. The deal, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, will give the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group supermarket unit access to the western parts of India via Natures Basket's 36 stores across Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. The transaction will be completed within 60 days from the signing of the share purchase agreement.

HOTELS, RESORTS AND CRUISE LINES

* Thomas Cook Group PLC reassured suppliers that it has enough resources to operate through the summer holiday season, the Financial Times (London) reported, citing a company statement. The travel services company reportedly said it is confident that it will reach "an acceptable solution in the coming days" with an unnamed payment provider to extend the length of time it holds on to customer payments. The statement comes after Citigroup said Thomas Cook would likely require a capital restructuring in order to keep operating. The company, which posted widened loss for the first half of 2019, is struggling to stay afloat as it seeks to sell its airline business. In midmorning trading in London, Thomas Cook's shares fell 23.78% to 8.99 pence.

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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 0.57% to 27,787.61. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.24% to 21,301.73.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.74% to 7,293.91, and the Euronext 100 was down 1.13% to 1,047.06.

On the macro front

Chicago Fed National Activity 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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