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Adidas Q2 net profit accelerates; Amazon.com takes steps to expand in Australia

TOP NEWS

* German sportswear maker adidas AG said on Aug. 3 net profit rose 15.5% in the second quarter after sales jumped by double-digit percentages in most regions due to strong demand for running gear and online purchases, and it reiterated its upgraded outlook for 2017. The Herzogenaurach-based maker of athletics clothing and shoes said net income from continuing operations for the three months ended June 30 rose to €347 million from €301 million in the same period a year earlier while diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased to €1.70 from €1.47. Net income beat a consensus of analysts' mean estimates of €344 million, while EPS was in line with expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ. Adidas reported preliminary results on July 27 and upgraded its outlook for the year.

* American e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. confirmed it will open its first logistics warehouse in Australia at Dandenong South, Melbourne, the Financial Times reported. The 24,000-square-meter facility will stock hundreds of thousands of products and reportedly create hundreds of jobs. Australia's retail sector has been under pressure in 2017 after Amazon announced it would bring its service to the country.

E-COMMERCE

* E-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. on Aug. 2 said it has agreed to partner with Chinese home-sharing platform Tujia as a move to expand its vacation-rental business outside Japan. This partnership will help Rakuten to offer its service to Chinese tourists by helping them find accommodation listed with its vacation-rental platform through Tujia. The Chinese company has over 500,000 vacation listings in 70 countries and plans to acquire 200,000 Japanese vacation-rental property listings by 2025.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.-owned apparel retailer Uniqlo is planning to sell its products through vending machines in U.S. airports and shopping malls, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 2. The company reportedly will roll out 10 vending machines, which will stock heat-retaining shirts and lightweight down jackets, over the next two months in U.S. cities, including New York, Houston and Oakland, Calif. The move is part of the retailer's renewed strategy to increase its presence in the U.S. after its stores in the country fell below sales forecasts, the WSJ wrote.

* U.K.-based apparel and home products retailer Next Plc on Aug. 3 raised the lower end of its forecast sales range for the year to January 2018 to down 3% from previous guidance of a down 3.5% after it reported a year-over-year rise of 0.7% in second-quarter sales. The company said sales in the second quarter ended July 29 increased due to an 11.4% year-over-year rise in its directory business, which offset a 7.4% drop in sales at its brick-and-mortar retail operations. Next forecast sales in the second half of 2017 to be down 1.2% year over year. Its board also declared a special dividend of 45 pence per share, to be paid Nov. 1.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPER CENTERS

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc. remains the best bet to win the U.S. grocery market despite the threat of Amazon.com Inc.'s deal to acquire Whole Foods Market Inc. and the expansion of other grocery chains, analysts at Oppenheimer said in a note published Aug. 1. The department store retailer's aggressive investments in online grocery, including free two-day shipping with a $35 minimum, easy reorder for frequently purchased items online, and a discount for picking up items at a store that were ordered online, put the retailer on par with other major players such as Amazon, according to the analysts.

* The U.K.'s competition and Markets Authority said it is probing the potential merger between Tesco Plc opticians and Netherlands-based GrandVision NV brand Vision Express, the Financial Times reported. The regulatory body will investigate whether the deal will create a "substantial lessening of competition." The deadline for the decision is reportedly Sept. 28.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Whether or not Nelson Peltz's campaign for a seat on Procter & Gamble Co. board succeeds, it has already created a legacy: $60 million in spending on the proxy fight. A filing made Aug. 1 with the SEC shows that Trian Fund Management LP, the activist hedge fund Peltz leads, plans to spend $25 million as it campaigns to add him to the board. Meanwhile, P&G said in a filing of its own that it has set aside $35 million to counter Trian's effort. That money will go to a variety of recipients as Cincinnati-based P&G aims to keep Peltz out of its boardroom.

* U.K. retailer B&M European Value Retail SA said Aug. 2 that it has acquired convenience food chain Heron Food Group Ltd. in a deal worth £152 million, B&M said in a statement. The acquisition, which was completed and announced Aug. 2, included an initial cash payment of £112.1 million.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* An independent review committee has been set up for Hong Kong jewelers to ensure standards after about 25,000 complaints were filed to the Consumer Council in 2016, Inside Retail Asia reported. The committee reportedly will be led by former Liberal Party legislator Vincent Fang Kang and it will strengthen consumer protection and guarantee product quality, promotions and customer services.

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