* U.K.-based Premier Foods' investor, Oasis Management, called for the sale of the company's Batchelors Soup brand to create funds for investment, Reuters reported. According to the investor, the sale could fetch the canned foods maker £200 million for investment. The company rejected the investor's call, refusing to sell one of its "jewels." A company spokesman said this approach is "not practical" and rather a short-term solution, the report added.
* Japanese retailer Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. reported a surge in profit for the fiscal first quarter, driven by strong sales at its overseas convenience stores. For the three months ended May 31, net income attributable to the owners of the parent jumped 27.5% year over year to ¥42.89 billion from ¥33.63 billion, surpassing the S&P Capital IQ consensus estimate of ¥42.42 billion. Net income per share came in at ¥48.48, compared to ¥38.02 in the year-ago period. The owner of the 7-Eleven brand also reported that first-quarter total sales for the group came in at ¥2.851 trillion, up 6.6% from ¥2.675 trillion a year prior. Revenue from operations rose 8.9% year over year to ¥1.599 trillion from ¥1.468 trillion, while net sales grew 10.8% to ¥1.295 trillion from ¥1.169 trillion.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Australian retailer Woolworths Group Ltd. entered an alliance with Caltex Australia Ltd covering convenience store and loyalty operations, in addition to signing a new 15-year fuel supply deal. The tie-up will see the companies collaborate on the development and launch of a convenience store offering under Woolworths' Metro banner at up to 250 Caltex service station locations over the next six years, with 50 of the outlets planned in the next two years. Woolworths will also become the wholesale food supplier for more than 700 Caltex convenience stores.
* French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA signed a €101.3 million deal with developer DCB International Sarl to sell and lease back its headquarters in Saint-Etienne in France, Property Investor Europe reported. Casino will occupy the 40,000-square-meter property for 12 years under the agreement, the report added.
* Orkla ASA said its wholly owned subsidiary Odense Macipan A/S signed and completed a deal to acquire Danish marmalade and fruit fillings maker Igos A/S. Igos will be consolidated into the company's financial statements, effective July 1, the release said. The parties did not disclose the purchase price.
* Norway's fresh salmon export to China last week hit 335 tons, marking a hike from 186 tons the week before that amid increasing customer demand, Reuters reported, citing data from The Norwegian Seafood Council. The country's total export volumes in the week grew to 16,828 tons, compared to 14,506 tons in the same week a year ago, the report added.
* British Retail Consortium warned the British government and the European Union to avoid a no-deal Brexit "at all costs" as this move will affect supply chain, lead to higher prices and throw retailers out of business, Reuters reported. This warning came a day ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May's address to ministers at her country residence, discussing how to reach an agreement to push on with the all-but-stalled Brexit talks, the report added.
TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS
* Imperial Brands PLC will roll out a vaping product in the U.S. and the U.K. in July to take on San Francisco-based JUUL Labs Inc., Bloomberg reported, citing an interview with the British tobacco producer's CEO Alison Cooper. The company's new vaping pods, which can be inserted into Imperial Brands' MyBlu vaping devices, reportedly will contain nicotine salts, which allow stimulants to be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly than conventional e-cigarettes, according to the report.
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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 increased 0.47% to 28,315.62, and the Nikkei 225 rose 1.12% to 21,788.14.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.21% to 7,587.28, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.14% to 1,051.59.
On the macro front
The employment situation report, the international trade report, the EIA natural gas report, the Treasury STRIPS report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.
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