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Sodexo cuts FY'18 guidance; Report: Whole Foods offers cheap delivery service

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Sodexo cuts FY'18 guidance; Report: Whole Foods offers cheap delivery service

TOP NEWS

* Sodexo SA's shares fell 12.8% in lunchtime trading in Paris after the French catering company cut its guidance for fiscal 2018 after first-half revenue growth of 1.7% and operating margin of 6.1% missed expectations. It reduced its forecast for revenue growth for the year ending August 2018 to between 1% and 1.5% from a range of 2% to 4% and trimmed its operating margin target to around 5.7% from 6.5%. Sodexo blamed fiscal second-quarter weakness in North America that is expected to persist in the second half, albeit at a lower rate. "We have identified specific areas of underperformance and are acting quickly to implement a series of corrective measures," CEO Denis Machuel said.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Whole Foods is offering cheaper grocery delivery via Amazon Prime compared to Kroger Co.'s Instacart delivery service, despite high in-store prices, Supermarket News reported, citing research findings from Barclays Capital. The study found that ordering two-hour delivery from Whole Foods gives discounts between 2% and 7% for baskets ranging from $35 to $50, excluding the $99 annual membership fee for Amazon Prime. This move "could be a game changer" for Whole Foods, the research firm added.

FOOD RETAIL AND DISTRIBUTION

* Minneapolis-based retailer Target Corp. recalled a number of frozen products sold at one of its stores on Oahu island in Hawaii over contamination concerns. Consuming the product could lead to life-threatening illness, the retailer said. The retailer determined that the problem was caused by a temperature malfunction during a shipment to Hawaii. All affected items were removed from the store, the company said in a release.

* Indian online marketplace Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd. is set to enter the food retail business, India's Mint reported, citing three people familiar with the development. The e-commerce retailer will also roll out consumables and fast-moving consumer goods products under its private brand Billion. Flipkart also is set to sell movie tickets before its proposed takeover by Walmart Inc., the report added. Flipkart did not respond to Mint's request for comment.

BEVERAGES

* Beverages distributor Conviviality PLC's board is set to go into administration within the next 10 days "unless circumstances change." According to a report from The Independent, the decision, which puts 2,500 people at risk of losing their employment, comes after Conviviality was unable to raise £125 million to help fund the business.

* Drinks company Heineken NV is set to roll out a new cider in Ireland in the coming weeks, European Supermarket Magazine reported. The brewer, which has a 12% market share, made this move to increase its share in the market, currently led by British cider brand Bulmers, the report added.

* Ceria Beverages, a Colorado-based company, is rolling out three marijuana-infused drinks that promise consumers sensations such as relaxation, bliss or uplift, The Cannabist reported. The formula does not use alcohol but promises to mimic its effect. The drinks, which will be available in Colorado by the end of 2018, will be available in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon in 2019, the report added.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* China is mulling import tariffs on U.S. soybeans, Reuters reported, citing U.S. Soybean Export Council Asia director Paul Burke. The levy came as Beijing's response to the trade taxes imposed by Trump on imports of steel and aluminum products from China, a major blow to the Chinese economy. China is the biggest importer of U.S. soybeans.

PACKAGED FOODS

* India's ITC Ltd. is likely to be a strong contender to acquire GlaxoSmithKline PLC's health nutrition unit, which food giants Nestlé SA, Kraft Heinz Co. and Unilever NV also are vying for, The Economic Times of India reported, citing a person familiar with the development. ITC, which recently launched its packaged milk processing facility, has a better chance of getting the deal because malt-based brands can be a natural addition to its growing food portfolio, the report added.

RESTAURANTS

* Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with fellow Boston-based brand Saucony to introduce limited-edition branded sneakers for the Boston Marathon. The running shoes, called Saucony X Dunkin’ Kinvara 9, feature Dunkin’s color scheme of pink and orange, as well as sprinkles and a pink frosted doughnut design on the heels.

* Chick-fil-A is set to open its largest restaurant in Lower Manhattan, New York, Business Insider reported. The restaurant, which will have three levels for seating including a rooftop deck, will employ over 150 workers.

THE DAY AHEAD

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.24% to 30,093.38, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.61% to 21,159.08. In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.40% to 7,072.99, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.39% to 1,010.74.

ON THE MACRO FRONT

The jobless claims report, the Chicago PMI report, the consumer sentiment report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides links to external sites where these offer further, relevant information to our readers. While we ensure that such links are functional at the time of publication, we are not responsible in instances where those links are unavailable later.

Article was amended March 29 at 11:32 a.m. ET to clarify the scope of the Target recall at one store in Hawaii.