* Luxury goods maker Burberry Group PLC said it would halt the practice of destroying unsaleable products, effective immediately. The announcement comes after the British company in July attracted ire from environmentalists and shareholders, among others, when it acknowledged that it had burned £28.6 million worth of merchandise in 2017. In addition, Burberry said it would no longer use real fur, and existing real fur products will be phased out.
* Farfetch Ltd. launched its IPO in a deal that could value the online fashion retailer at about $4.85 billion, and it disclosed that the holding company of the Pinault family, which controls Gucci owner Kering SA, could acquire a stake. Farfetch, which announced on Aug. 20 that it filed a registration for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, in its prospectus indicated that 10.5% of its shares initially would be traded.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Ralph Lauren Corp. opened its first digital flagship store in China that will be integrated with Tencent Holdings Ltd.-owned mobile application WeChat, which shoppers can use as a platform to pay for purchases or reach customer service. The online store will feature the apparel retailer's women's collection, its men's purple label and its Polo apparel brand, as well as offer same-day delivery, with complimentary gift wrapping, for customers in Shanghai.
* Hermès International SA opened its 25th store in China at the city of Xi'an. The 255-square-meter outlet, which was designed by French architecture agency RDAI, indicates Hermès' strong confidence in the Chinese market and its foray in the country's northwestern region.
* Marks and Spencer Group PLC appointed Jeremy Pee, senior vice president at Loblaw Cos. Ltd., as chief digital and data officer, effective Dec. 3. Pee will oversee M&S' digital capabilities and accelerate the company's digital innovation strategy.
* Texas-based department store chain J. C. Penney Co. Inc. added 40% more toys to its stores for the upcoming holiday season, following the announced expansion of toy selections by major retailers Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. The retailer unveiled its curated toy selections, which include products from brands such as LEGO, Hasbro Inc., Mattel Inc. and Mattel-owned Fisher Price Inc., that will be available in stores and at J.C. Penney's online store starting October.
* JD.com Inc. said it will launch a new range of benefits, such as access to entertainment services, travel bookings and restaurants, for members of JD Plus after the premium subscription program exceeds 10 million users. JD Plus, which boasts a renewal rate of nearly 80%, offers loyalty points that can be exchanged for purchase and shipping discounts.
* Amazon Fashion, the apparel arm of Amazon.com Inc., began offering J. Crew Inc.'s discount line to customers in the U.S. through a dedicated storefront on the online retailer's website. J.Crew Mercantile is a "collection of value-driven merchandise" located in convenient retail centers that the New York-based clothing and accessories chain launched in July 2015. Mercantile's products on Amazon's portal are available free of shipping costs for all customers or free two-day shipping for Prime members.
* Amazon.com Inc. customers reported that the platform's search engine had stopped working for about two hours beginning at 4 p.m. ET, according to outage monitoring platform DownDetector. According to a Bloomberg News report, the online retailer's portal only showed advertisements but no search results, and others also pointed out that there were glitches on Amazon's social media pages. The issues appeared to be fixed as of around 5:45 p.m. ET.
* Ctrip.com International Ltd. reported earnings that exceeded analysts' expectations for the second quarter of fiscal 2018. For the quarter ended June 30, the New York-listed travel services provider posted non-GAAP diluted earnings per ADS of 29 cents, beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of 20 cents. Ctrip said it expects net revenue for the third quarter of 2018 to continue to grow at a year-on-year rate of about 13% to 18%.
* Chinese e-commerce platform Yunji Weidian hired Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to help with its plan to launch a U.S. IPO in early 2019, a source told Reuters. The source reportedly said Yunji intends to raise about $1 billion when it lists on the Nasdaq stock exchange and hopes to reach a valuation of between $7 billion and $10 billion in the offering.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* The U.S. Department of Justice may approve CVS Health Corp.'s planned purchase of Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp.'s planned acquisition of Express Scripts Holding Co. in the next few weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The DOJ will require CVS and Aetna to sell off assets related to Medicare drug coverage to alleviate competition concerns concerning the $69 billion merger, the Journal reported, citing sources familiar with that deal. Meanwhile, Cigna's $67 billion planned purchase of Express Scripts could be approved without any asset sales, the newspaper added.
HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS
* Walmart Inc. launched a last-mile delivery pilot in Nashville, Tenn., and New Orleans as part of the expansion of its grocery delivery service, with plans of rolling out the program in a few more metro areas in 2018. The pilot, called Spark Delivery, uses a crowd-sourced, in-house platform that enables independent drivers who work under Delivery Drivers Inc., or DDI, to deliver orders that are suited to their schedules.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* Lego Group CEO Niels Christiansen told Bloomberg News that the impact the company's plan to stop using plastic in its products will have on profitability is still unknown. Lego announced in March that it will begin using sustainable materials, like sugarcane, in making its building blocks in a bid to reduce plastic waste.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.99% to 26,974.82, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.41% to 22,487.94.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.22% to 7,367.23, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.15% to 1,031.10.
On the macro front
The ADP Employment report, the jobless claims report, the productivity and costs report, the PMI Services index, the factory orders report, the ISM's non-manufacturing index, the EIA natural gas report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report 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.
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