* Walmart Inc. will expand its auto-selling tie-up with online platform CarSaver to 250 Walmart stores in the U.S. through a program that connects its customers with a network of certified dealers, according to a dedicated website called CarSaver at Walmart. The expansion comes more than a year after reports suggested that the retail giant and CarSaver partnered to sell cars in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Oklahoma City in collaboration with dealership groups including AutoNation Inc.
* Cerberus Capital Management-controlled gun manufacturer Remington Outdoor Co. filed for Chapter 11 protection in a Delaware bankruptcy court following protests for stricter gun laws in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. The company, which has liabilities valued between $100 million and $500 million, reportedly also struck a deal with lenders that can decrease its debt by $700 million and give $145 million of new capital into the gun maker.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* U.S. luxury fashion company Tapestry Inc. appointed former Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. accessories and footwear group president Anna Bakst as CEO and brand president of Kate Spade & Co., effective March 26. Bakst will succeed Craig Leavitt, who left the Kate Spade brand after it was acquired by Tapestry in 2017.
* French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE named Virgil Abloh as men's artistic director for its fashion label Louis Vuitton, effective immediately.
* Harvey Nichols former CEO Stacey Cartwright will step down from her role as the company's deputy chairman, effective April 30, to start a nonexecutive career, Drapers reported. The London-based department store chain reportedly also appointed co-COOs Daniela Rinaldi and Manju Malhotra.
* House of Fraser's refinancing talks with Apollo Global Management LLC-backed private equity firm Alteri Investors "did not progress," leaving the London-based department store operator to struggle with a £224 million debt maturing July 2019, the Financial Times reported.
* Amazon.com Inc.'s Whole Foods Market Inc. will cut several regional and in-store corporate marketing and graphic designer jobs in July in a move to "centralize" certain jobs to cut cost, Business Insider reported, citing people familiar with the development. The number of jobs being eliminated remained unclear, although the report noted that about 10 positions will be eliminated from each of its 11 regional offices. Some employees also confirmed to Business Insider that they have until July 2 and will receive benefits until the end of that month.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma is set to announce the company's future investment in a scheme that develops Thailand's eastern provinces when he visits the country March 30, Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana told the Bangkok Post. Savanayana also said the Chinese e-commerce giant plans to build a logistics center in the country through the Eastern Economic Corridor program to support operations in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
* The Federal Trade Commission charged a number of entities and individuals with violating FTC rules through deceptive in-person and online workshops promising consumers they could make thousands of dollars selling products on Amazon.com Inc. The commission investigated the allegations and filed a formal complaint, but the case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. The defendants in the FTC case include six entities and three individuals alleged to have violated the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Rule.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. rolled out AliGenie 2.0, a visual-recognition platform capable of reading and identifying objects, in the online retailer's voice-controlled smart speaker Tmall Genie. The software, which only understands commands in Mandarin Chinese, can be used through a mobile application called Genie FireEye that connects to Tmall Genie.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. will acquire a stake of about 18.25% in Philippine-based supermarket operator Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. The Hong Kong-based retailer seeks to create a food business with more than 1,700 stores in the Philippines through a partnership that will combine its stake in Rustan Supercenters Inc. with Robinsons.
* Grupo Comercial Chedraui SAB de CV-owned food retailer Bodega Latina Corp., doing business as El Super, agreed to buy Texas-based Fiesta Mart LLC from equity company ACON Investments LLC for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of the second quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* JD Sports Fashion PLC agreed to acquire apparel retailer Finish Line Inc. for approximately $558 million in cash, giving the U.K.-based sportswear company physical and online presence across 44 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. The transaction, expected to close no earlier than June, subject to approval by the companies' shareholders, will also allow JD to expand in the U.S. through the retail chain's partnerships, including an exclusive collaboration with Macy's Inc.
* President Donald Trump's trade actions are "long-term very good for the economy" as they are part of the administration's three-part economic plan that includes tax reform and regulatory relief, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a Fox News interview. Mnuchin explained that the tariffs on imported Chinese goods that led to a U.S. stock market drop also are part of ongoing negotiations to address the trade deficit, adding that Trump "wants free and fair trade."
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The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.79% to 30,548.77. The Nikkei 225 added 0.72% to 20,766.10. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.45% to 6,952.81, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.27% to 999.02.
On the macro front
Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey are due out today.
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