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Reckitt Benckiser names CFO; PwC accused of conflict as Thomas Cook auditor

TOP NEWS

* Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC appointed Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV CFO Jeff Carr as its new executive director and CFO, effective April 9, 2020. Carr will replace Adrian Hennah, who will retire from the company Oct. 21, 2020.

* PricewaterhouseCoopers has been accused of a conflict of interest during its time as Thomas Cook Group PLC's auditor for signing off on an accounting policy that helped calculate bonuses for the executives of the now-liquidated company, the Financial Times reported. U.K. auditors are not allowed to advise on the remuneration of directors at companies they audit. "The non-audit work as advisers to the remuneration committee was approved in advance by the audit committee, complied with all relevant regulatory standards and was disclosed in the company's annual reports," PwC reportedly said.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Bonmarché Holdings PLC appointed FRP Advisory as its administrators, putting nearly 3,000 jobs at risk, the Financial Times reported, citing a statement from CEO Helen Connolly. "The delay in Brexit has created negativities both in the global markets towards Britain and damaged consumer sentiment and retail footfall on the high street," Connolly reportedly said. The British clothing retailer was sold to Philip Day's Spectre Holdings Ltd. in July.

* Tapestry Inc. brand Kate Spade debuted in the athletic devices market with the launch of its first sports smartwatch, Women's Wear Daily reported. The watch, priced at $275 and created with licensee partner Fossil Group Inc., offers heart-rate tracking, GPS connection and other training apps.

* Barneys New York Inc. may launch outlets inside Saks stores if New York-based Authentic Brands Group LLC succeeds in its $271.4 million purchase of the retailer's assets, CNBC reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The source reportedly said Barneys may still renegotiate the leases for some of its best properties but downsize them if the deal with Authentic Brands closes. However, Authentic Brands will proceed with its shop-in-shop plan for Barneys regardless of its store footprint, the report said.

* More than 500 workers at British retailer Matalan called off their long-running strike, which was organized by members of the GMB union, after the company made a new pay offer. "After extensive negotiations from both sides, Matalan and GMB are pleased to announce a fully recommended deal has been brokered, which will be put to ballot this weekend," GMB and Matalan said in a joint statement. The result of the vote is expected Oct. 21.

* Jeweler Links of London Ltd. has cut 38 jobs at its headquarters in London after falling into administration, Reuters reported, citing a statement from administrator Deloitte. There reportedly have been no job losses at any of the Folli-Follie Commercial Manufacturing and Technical SA subsidiary's stores.

* Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. brand Uniqlo pulled a 15-second television ad in South Korea, which recently dropped Japan as a trusted trade partner, after being accused of mocking victims of wartime sexual slavery, The Guardian reported, citing a company statement. "We decided to stop airing the ad as we take it seriously that many people felt uncomfortable," Uniqlo reportedly said in a statement. In July, Fast Retailing apologized to South Korean customers for an executive's "poorly expressed" remark in response to a media question about the country's boycott on Japanese products.

E-COMMERCE

* Rakuten Inc. said it will change the name of its Oak Co. Ltd. subsidiary to Rakuten Books Network Co. Ltd., effective Nov. 1, in a bid "to strengthen synergies" with the group and expand its service network through collaborations.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* Australian grocer Woolworths Group Ltd. is testing a paper bag option, which would cost customers 20 cents each, at 20 of its stores, The Guardian reported, citing a spokeswoman.

* Asda Stores Ltd., its parent Walmart Inc., and its pension trustee agreed to a £3.8 billion pension buy-in with insurance company Rothesay Life PLC. Under the arrangement, Rothesay will be responsible for paying the retirement benefits of about 12,300 members of Asda's pension scheme.

* John Lewis Partnership PLC will not sell Christmas crackers containing plastic toys at its John Lewis and Waitrose locations beginning in 2020, in a bid to reduce single-use plastics, The Guardian reported, citing Dan Cooper, the company's head Christmas buyer. John Lewis reportedly will offer toys made from recyclable materials and use cardboard wrappers instead of those covered with plastic glitter.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Sports Direct International PLC chief Mike Ashley completed the acquisition of Brookfield Shopping Park in Cheshunt, England, for £25.4 million, The Telegraph reported. "We believe in bricks & mortar retail and plan to transform this retail park into a modern, aspirational shopping destination for the local area," Michael Murray, Sports Direct's head of elevation, reportedly said in a statement.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.08% to 26,740.24, while the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.25% to 22,548.90.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.12% to 7,159.47, while the Euronext 100 was up 0.14% to 1,090.88.

On the macro front

No notable reports 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.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 8 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.