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Amazon Prime Day to run for 36 hours; Walmart names new chief customer officer

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* Inc.'s Prime Day, an annual shopping event for its paid subscription members, will be held for 36 hours beginning 3 p.m. ET on July 16. For 2018, Prime Day will feature over 1 million deals globally. Amazon will offer select discounts on purchases from Whole Foods Market Inc. stores in the U.S., as well as double the deals on its electronic devices, including Alexa-enabled products like Echo, Fire TV and Fire tablets.

* Walmart Inc. has appointed Janey Whiteside to the newly created role of executive vice president and chief customer officer for Walmart's U.S. arm and its e-commerce business in the country. In an internal company memo, a copy of which was provided by Walmart to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran and e-commerce U.S. President and CEO Marc Lore said Whiteside will assume her new position Aug. 1. Prior to joining the big-box retailer, Whiteside worked in various roles at American Express Co.


* Randa Accessories Leather Goods LLC announced its intention to acquire Perry Ellis International Inc. for an all-cash transaction of $28 per share. The takeover proposal rivals George Feldenkreis' offer to take Perry Ellis private for $27.50 per share. The apparel retailer has already agreed to its founder's deal after the board of Perry Ellis unanimously gave its approval. In response, Perry Ellis said it will consult with its advisers to review Randa's proposal and determine the best course of action for the company.

* Japan's Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. announced that tennis athlete Roger Federer has become Uniqlo's latest global brand ambassador. Federer will sport Uniqlo's LifeWear apparel throughout the year, beginning with the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. A report from Bloomberg News added that the partnership with Federer, who until recently was associated with Nike Inc., will boost Uniqlo's brand recognition in Europe.

* Under Armour Inc. appointed Jason Archer as managing director of its Asia-Pacific arm, Manuel Ovalle as managing director of its Latin American unit and Massimo Baratto as managing director of its Europe, Middle East and Africa division. The apparel company also will expand its office in Hong Kong to become the headquarters for its Asia-Pacific operations.


* Macy's Inc.-owned cosmetics brand Bluemercury will open 60 standalone stores in 2019 and will launch more outlets inside Macy's locations as well, Bloomberg News reported. Co-founder Barry Beck reportedly said the move will increase Bluemercury's store count to about 220 and that the brand is looking to open stores in areas where it does not have a presence yet. Beck added that Bluemercury also is considering using drone deliveries and expanding its within-an-hour bicycle delivery service to maintain its comparable sales growth in the high-double digits.


* An Indian lobby group held protests across the country against Walmart Inc.'s proposed $16 billion purchase of a 77% stake in online retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd., Reuters reported. While the Confederation of All India Traders, or CAIT, had intended to gather one million protesters across multiple cities, the news agency said turnout was sparse. CAIT, which maintained that 1 million people had participated in the demonstrations, said the deal will create a monopoly in India's retail market and negatively affect small local businesses.


* Colgate-Palmolive Co. is close to buying a minority stake in New York-based startup Hubble, which sells contact lenses online, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. As part of the deal, Hubble reportedly will make new online subscription avenues to sell Colgate's products and consider selling more products such as pet food.

* Unilever PLC completed the €6.83 billion sale of its spreads business unit to private equity firm KKR & Co. Inc. It also closed a separate sale of its spreads business in Southern Africa to investment firm Remgro Ltd., in exchange for Remgro's 25.75% stake in Unilever South Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

* Household products company Lion Corp. segment profit dropped by 10% to over 11 billion Japanese yen for the six-month period ended June due to the increased cost of petrochemical raw materials such as naphtha, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. However, the Japanese company reportedly still beat its segment profit guidance of 11 billion yen, driven by the good sales performance of its oral care products. The company expects its net profit for the full year to increase by 20% to 25 billion yen, the report added.


* Nestlé SA is in talks to buy a majority stake in Canada's Champion Petfoods for more than $2 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the report, the addition of Champion, whose owners include Toronto buyout firm Bedford Capital, could help the Swiss foods giant bolster its pet food operation, which includes the Purina brand.


* South Korea's E-Mart Inc., the hypermarket subsidiary of Shinsegae Inc., plans to establish electric vehicle charging stations at all of its 140 locations in the country by 2021, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing a company statement. The first four outlets are expected to roll out the service this week, with six more stores to follow within 2018, the company reportedly said.


* U.K. hotels and restaurants group Whitbread PLC is planning to simplify the management teams in its restaurant business to bring its structure in line with industry norms, the company said in an emailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company said the move will create a more efficient and effective organization. The Independent first reported that the company was cutting at least 250 jobs as part of a restructuring of its restaurant business, which is held under the Premier Inn brand.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng fell 1.41% to 28,545.57, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.12% to 21,785.54.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.58% to 7,591.56, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.93% to 1,045.47.

On the macro front

The motor vehicle sales report, the Redbook Index for retail sales, and the factory orders report are due out today.

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