* Online retailers in India, including Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd., are lobbying to extend the Feb. 1 deadline set by the Indian government for implementing new e-commerce regulations, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. According to the report, the online retailers need to overhaul their business model to comply with the changes. Flipkart and Amazon both said they intend to comply with the new rules, the report added.
* Food and beverage giant The Kraft Heinz Co. said it completed its acquisition of condiment-maker Primal Nutrition LLC. The deal had a transaction price of $200 million. Primal Nutrition will join Kraft Heinz's Springboard platform focused on growth in the food industry.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Dutch food retailer Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV said its U.S. supermarket chain, Stop & Shop, agreed to buy New York-based rival King Kullen Grocery Co. Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions. Under the agreement, Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop will acquire 32 supermarkets from King Kullen and five Wild by Nature stores and be allowed to use the company's corporate offices in Bethpage, N.Y.
* Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co. Ltd. said it completed the transfer of its remaining 60% shareholding in its subsidiary UNY Co. Ltd. to Japanese general merchandise retailer Don Quijote Holdings Co. Ltd. Following the transaction, Don Quijote now holds 100% of Uny. FamilyMart agreed to sell the remaining 60% it holds in Uny to Don Quijote in October 2018 as part of a new retail alliance.
* The British arm of German grocer Aldi (Süd) GmbH & Co. saw a 10% year-over-year jump in Christmas sales, marking a sales record of almost £1 billion in the week beginning Dec 17. The sales for December 2018, according to the discount retailer, were driven by a surge in demand for its premium ranges. Aldi, which opened 65 new stores in 2018, said it aims to launch 1,200 stores in the U.K. by the end of 2025.
* U.K.-based grocer Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC is cutting prices of 935 products by an average of 20%, Reuters reported, citing a company statement. The price reduction on items, including canned tomatoes and multivitamins, will continue for a minimum of 12 weeks. The company did not disclose the cost of investment, Reuters said.
* New Zealand-based The a2 Milk Co. Ltd. said it appointed Melanie Kansil its chief commercial officer, effective in the first half of 2019. The milk producer also named Phil Rybinski as its chief technical officer, effective from April.
* YUM! Brands Inc.'s Pizza Hut said it will expand its beer delivery service to about 300 restaurants across Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio, as well as more locations in California and Arizona by mid-January. By the summer of 2019, the pizza chain said it plans to further expand the service to 1,000 restaurants across new markets.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.82% to 25,835.70. The Nikkei 225 rose 2.44% to 20,038.97.
In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.63% to 6,794.27, and the Euronext 100 retreated 0.48% to 916.89.
On the macro front
The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index, the TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index and the factory orders 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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