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Tesco to slash 4,500 jobs; Pernod Ricard acquiring Firestone & Robertson

TOP NEWS

* Tesco PLC will cut 4,500 jobs as the supermarket operator plans to simplify operations at its 153 Metro stores. The company will also reduce working hours at 134 of its 1,750 Express stores.

* Paris-based Pernod Ricard SA, through its subsidiary Pernod Ricard USA LLC, is acquiring distillery Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes Firestone & Robertson's two TX-branded premium spirits and a distillery called Whiskey Ranch near Fort Worth, Texas.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos sold approximately $990.1 million worth of shares in the e-commerce giant between Aug. 1 and Aug. 2. Bezos, who sold a total of 532,120 shares during the two-day period after selling another $1.84 billion worth of shares the same week, now holds 57,610,359 Amazon shares.

* EP Global Commerce VI GmbH, the investment vehicle owned by Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak investor Patrik Tkac, said it is not planning to raise or lower its offer to buy German wholesaler Metro AG, refuting earlier reports.

* Woolworths Group Ltd. said it partnered with grocery automation startup Takeoff Technologies Inc. to launch automated micro fulfillment capabilities across three sites over the next 12 months. After the trial period, the Australian supermarket retailer will assess the technology before further rollout.

BEVERAGES

* Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. agreed to acquire a 30.3% stake in cosmetics company Fancl Corp. for ¥129.3 billion. Separately, Kirin cut its 2019 earnings outlook as it reported a loss of ¥8.34 per diluted share for the first half ended June 30, compared to diluted EPS of ¥95.19 in the year-ago period.

* Japanese beverage producer Suntory Holdings Ltd. is set to invest ¥6 billion to add a storehouse to its whisky-aging cellar, located in the prefecture of Shiga, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The company will start the construction in November, and the facility will be operational in May 2021, the report said.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Beyond Meat Inc. said it has closed its public offering of common stock and received $38.5 million in net proceeds.

* U.S. packaged food retailer Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. appointed Gerardo Scheufler as its new senior vice president and chief supply chain officer, effective Aug. 12. Scheufler will replace Rick Martin, who is retiring on the same date.

* Marfrig Global Foods SA inked an agreement with food processing company Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. to produce and distribute plant-based meat in Brazil, Reuters reported, citing a company announcement.

RESTAURANTS

* Shake Shack Inc. said it is partnering with mobile ordering app Grubhub Inc. to offer delivery services from its stores across the U.S. The partnership is being tested at "a small number" of the burger chain's locations, and the service will be gradually rolled out to more stores over the next two to three quarters.

* Dine Brands Global Inc., operator of Applebee's restaurants, said its board of directors declared a cash dividend of 69 cents per share of common stock for the third quarter, payable Oct. 4.

* Casual dining chain operator Perkins & Marie Callender's Holding LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, Reuters reported.

* U.K.-based Domino's Pizza Group PLC posted underlying pretax profit of £42.3 million for the first half ended June 30, marking a 7.4% year-over-year decline from £45.7 million. The company's underlying basic EPS came in at 7.5 pence, down 3.8% from 7.8 pence in the year-ago period. The company also announced the retirement of its CEO, David Wild, who will step down once a replacement has been named.

* Shake Shack Inc. boosted its full-year outlook as it reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The burger chain now expects revenue of between $585 million and $590 million, compared to its previous expected range of $576 million to $582 million. For the second quarter ended June 30, Shake Shack posted adjusted diluted EPS of 27 cents, down from 29 cents in the year-ago period but beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence normalized EPS mean consensus estimate of 23 cents.

* Jollibee Foods Corp. posted net income of 1.12 billion Philippine pesos in the second quarter ended June 30, a steep decline of 50.2% from 2.25 billion pesos a year ago due to "extraordinary" manufacturing expenses, losses from burger chain Smashburger and lower sales of its Red Ribbon unit. Diluted EPS for the quarter came in at 1.01 pesos, marking a 50.4% year-over-year plunge.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* China's Commerce Ministry said Chinese companies have stopped buying U.S. agricultural products and that the country would temporarily not rule out the possibility of imposing new tariffs on imported U.S. farm products that were bought after Aug. 3, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 0.67% to 25,976.24, while the Nikkei 225 shed 0.65% to 20,585.31.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.02% to 7,224.90, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.67% to 1,032.69.

On the macro front

The Redbook Index for retail sales and the JOLTS 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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