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Under Armour raises FY'18 EPS outlook; Amazon extends free holiday shipping


* Athletic-wear maker Under Armour Inc. updated its guidance for fiscal 2018 as the company reported its projections for 2019 and presented a five-year strategic growth plan at an investor meeting. The company said adjusted EPS for fiscal 2018 was slightly updated to a range of 21 cents to 22 cents, compared to the previous forecast of 19 cents to 22 cents, excluding the impact of restructuring efforts. For full year 2019, the company said it expects earnings per share ranging from 31 cents to 33 cents and a 3% to 4% increase in revenue. Under Armour's five-year growth plan is expected to help the EPS grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate of approximately 40%.

* Inc. extended its free holiday shipping service to Dec. 18. The company also expanded the reach of its free Prime same-day delivery and free Prime one-day shipping programs to over 10,000 locations in the U.S. Prime paid subscription members in over 30 cities will have access to free two-hour delivery windows on Dec. 24 if they place their orders by 9:15 p.m. local time.


* Apparel retailer Tailored Brands Inc. lowered its adjusted diluted EPS outlook for fiscal 2018 to between $2.30 and $2.35, from its previous range of $2.35 to $2.50, after seeing "a softening of comparable sales" in the third quarter. For the three months ended Nov. 3, the company posted adjusted diluted EPS of $1.01. Total net sales increased 0.2% year over year to $812.7 million, with retail comparable sales up 2.3%.

* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB collaborated with Swedish fashion brand Eytys for a unisex apparel line. The Eytys x H&M collection, which features clothing, accessories and shoes, will be available online and in select stores beginning Jan. 24, 2019.


* Chinese e-commerce retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the Airport Authority Hong Kong announced their partnership to build a global smart logistics hub in Kwo Lo Wan at the Hong Kong International Airport. The hub will serve as a digital logistics center in Asia that will aid global cross-border e-commerce trade and bolster Hong Kong's international competitiveness.

* Lazada Group SA, majority owned by China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., appointed Executive President Pierre Poignant as CEO, effective immediately. Poignant will succeed Lucy Peng, who will remain executive chairwoman of the online retail company.

* U.K. online grocer Ocado Group PLC reported that retail revenue for the 13 weeks to Dec. 2 rose 12% year over year to £390.7 million, in line with its expectations for 2018. The company saw a 13.1% increase in average orders per week to 320,000 units, with average order size declining 1% to £104.91.

* Online luxury fashion marketplace Farfetch Ltd. agreed to acquire sneaker and streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods for $250 million. Stadium Goods, which specializes in new and second-hand products, will continue to be led by its existing management team after the deal closes and its inventory will be fully integrated into Farfetch's platform. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.


* The Procter & Gamble Co. acquired health and beauty products maker Walker & Co. for an undisclosed amount. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based retailer, which specializes in creating beauty products for people of color, will continue to be led by CEO and founder Tristan Walker as a wholly owned subsidiary of P&G.

* Avon Products Inc. appointed Gustavo Arnal as executive vice president and CFO, effective during the spring of 2019, to succeed Jamie Wilson. Separately, the company said it has partnered with cosmetics company Bonne Co. Ltd. to unveil its first collection from South Korea in a bid to capitalize on the Korean beauty trend. The product range, which features masks and hand creams, will be launched in Russia before rolling out to other European markets in early 2019.

* Hengan International Group Co. Ltd. resumed trading Dec. 13 as it responded to fraudulent reporting allegations made by short-selling firm Bonitas Research. Hengan, which produces sanitary napkins and baby diapers, was the subject of a 38-page report by the Texas-based firm in which it claimed Hengan has fabricated 11 billion Chinese yuan in net income since 2005. In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Hengan said the accusations are "malicious" and "completely speculative and baseless."


* Australian retail group Woolworths Group Ltd. opened a new concept store called The Kitchen in Sydney's Double Bay area. The Kitchen will feature a range of locally sourced organic fresh produce, healthy meals and an expanded Macro Wholefoods product selection.


* German retailer Metro AG posted EPS of 95 euro cents for fiscal 2017/18, a 5.9% increase from 89 cents in the prior year, while sales declined 1.6% to €36.53 billion. For the upcoming fiscal 2018-19, Metro expects overall sales to increase 1% to 3% at constant currency, with a like-for-like sales growth of 1% to 3%, but anticipates that EBITDA will decline between 2% and 6% partly due to its ongoing restructuring in Russia. The Cash & Carry parent also said it will propose a dividend of 70 euro cents for its shareholders at its annual general meeting.


* Consumer electronics company Panasonic Corp. will launch a fixed-rate appliance rental service in Japan as early as 2020, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The project is an expansion of the company's trial television rental program launched in February.

* U.K. sports goods retailer Sports Direct International PLC reported that underlying basic EPS for the fiscal first half of 2019 declined to 7.3 pence from 11.3 pence in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, group revenue for the 26 weeks to Oct. 28 increased 4.5% year over year to £1.79 billion, with recently acquired House of Fraser Group Ltd. contributing £70.1 million. The company added that, excluding acquisitions, underlying EBITDA was up 14.6% on a currency neutral basis.


* Education services provider Laureate Education Inc. agreed to sell its institutions in Spain and Portugal for €770 million to a company backed by U.K. private equity firm Permira. The institutions under the agreement include Universidad Europea de Madrid, Universidade Europeia in Portugal and Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 1.29% to 26,524.35, while the Nikkei 225 was up 0.99% to 21,816.19.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.23% to 6,864.05, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.40% to 949.24.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the import and export prices report, the Energy Information Administration natural gas report, the treasury budget report, the U.S. 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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