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Costco net income beats expectations; Amazon tests delivery service, report says

TOP NEWS

* U.S. retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. reported fiscal fourth-quarter and fiscal 2017 results that were ahead of a mean consensus of analysts' expectations, while same-store sales rose 6.1% in the quarter. The company said net income attributable to Costco for the 17 weeks ended Sept. 3 was $919 million, outstripping the mean consensus estimate of $892.7 million compiled by S&P Capital IQ.

* E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. is testing a new delivery service called "Seller Flex" that could rival FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc., Bloomberg News reported Oct. 5, citing two people familiar with the matter. Amazon did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

E-COMMERCE

* Amazon.com Inc. will open a temporary bar in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district to promote alcoholic beverages sold on its Japanese portal, Bloomberg reported. The bar reportedly will be open every evening beginning Oct. 20 for 10 days.

* U.K. health and beauty online retailer The Hut Group acquired makeup brand Illamasqua for about £25 million as part of its planned £400 million M&A spending in 2017, Retail Gazette reported. The deal reportedly is the retailer's fourth acquisition in less than three months.

* U.K.-based online retailer ASOS Plc and New Look Retailers Ltd. agreed to join the country's anti-slavery watchdog and about 40 other regulatory bodies in Leicester, England, in a bid to improve working conditions in its textile industry, The Guardian reported. The Leicestershire area reportedly has the second-highest concentration of textile plants in the U.K. and employs about 10,000 people in the sector.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

* The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that increased imports of large residential washers from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc. pose a "cause of serious injury" to the domestic industry, meaning that the commission will now look into imposing duties on the companies' washers. Samsung said in an Oct. 5 statement that it was "disappointed" with the ITC's decision, while LG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FOOD RETAILING

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Mexico unit Wal-Mart de México SAB de CV appointed Carlos Arroyo, currently senior vice president and CEO of Walmart Central America, as its new COO, effective Nov. 1. Arroyo has headed the Central American operations since 2014, and he will be replaced by Christian Barrientos, senior vice president of Walmex's Bodega store chain.

* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd.-owned 7-Eleven Singapore will open 80 new outlets in the city-state by the end of 2018, TODAY (Singapore) reported. The move follows the expiry of its partnership with Royal Dutch Shell plc's Singaporean unit. A spokesperson from Dairy Farm Singapore, which operates the local 7-Eleven stores, reportedly said the impact of the contract expiration "will not be material."

* Australian retailer Woolworths Ltd. has put up for sale its 68,144-square-foot Victorian head office and distribution center in Mulgrave, a suburb of Melbourne, with an expected price of about A$100 million, Inside Retail Australia reported. The company reportedly confirmed that the sale will have no impact on its operations.

SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Women's specialty retailer Victoria's Secret, owned by L Brands Inc., unveiled a limited-edition capsule collection with French private luxury apparel retailer Balmain. Designed by Balmain's creative director, VSxBALMAIN will be available at select Victoria's Secret stores and on its online portal beginning Nov. 29.

* U.S. retailer Toys R Us Inc. has recalled about 29,700 infant toys called Bruin Infant Wiggle Ball that can pose a choking hazard, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission said consumers should return the product, which was sold from June 2016 to January 2017, to any Toys R Us store for a full refund.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* U.K. retail sales in September rebounded strongly year over year, boosted by early Christmas shopping, according to a report published Oct. 6. The BDO High Street Sales Tracker showed that like-for-like sales in the four weeks to Sept. 24 jumped 2.9% from the same period in 2016.

* Businesses in Hong Kong, including financial firms and retailers, are increasingly hiring "mystery shoppers" to assess service quality and spot problems from a customer perspective, according to the South China Morning Post. The trend to hire such shoppers from third-party agencies reportedly has picked up amid a slowdown in mainland China.

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