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What to Watch: Domino's bosses quit, Boohoo bids for Karen Millen, and Roll-Royce narrows losses

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
The sign of a Domino's Pizza restaurant is seen in Paris, France, October 27, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Here are the top business, market and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Domino’s bosses quit

The CEO and chairman of pizza delivery chain Domino’s (DOM.L) have both announced plans to leave the business.

Domino’s Pizza said on Tuesday that chief executive David Wild and chairman Stephen Hemsley have both announced they plan to quit the company.

Wild will continue in the role until a new boss is in place and Hemsley will oversee the recruitment process and leave once a new chairman is appointed.

The departure comes after Domino’s management clashes with shareholders and follows recent disappointing share price performance.

Shares in Domino’s jumped 5.7% on the news.

Domino’s also said on Tuesday that sales in the six months to 30 June grew 3.5% to £295.6 million, but pre-tax profits slumped 27% to £30.5 million.

Boohoo bids for Karen Millen

Online retailer Boohoo (BOO.L) has made an offer to buy high street brands Karen Millen and Coast.

Boohoo, which has submitted a bid to the retailers’ Icelandic bank owner Kaupthing, said the bid “may or may not result in agreement of a transaction”.

Bosses at Boohoo said the brands would “represent highly complementary additions to its scalable multi-brand platform and extend the group’s offer as part of its vision to lead the fashion e-commerce market globally”.

Shore Capital’s retail analysts Clive Black and Greg Lawless said in a note: “In our view, Boohoo was always looking to potentially add to its stable of brands.

“Comparisons could be made with [Zara-owner] Inditex who operate 8 brands. Boohoo currently has four brands trading today (Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Miss Pap). We will watch developments with interest.”

Shares in Boohoo were up 2.5%.

Rolls-Royce narrows losses

Rolls-Royce (RR.L) reported half-year results showing narrowing losses but continued problems with its Trent 1000 engines, which has suffered from reports of cracking blades since 2016.

Rolls-Royce made a pre-tax losses of £791 million, compared to £1.2 billion a year ago. Underlying half-year profits rose 16% to £94 million for the six months to June 30, while underlying operating profits jumped 32% to £203 million.

Problems with Trent 1000 turbines were still causing some customer disruption, the company said, and in-service costs are set to increase by £100 million over the next three years.

East said in a statement: “We have made good progress on resolving the Trent 1000 compressor issue, though, regretfully, customer disruption remains.”

Rolls also revealed an extra £59 million charge related to Airbus’s decision to stop production its A380 superjumbo aircraft. It takes the total hit from the move to £245 million.

Rolls said it was still on track to meet its 2019 target for underlying operating profit and free cash flow of £700 million, plus or minus £100 million.

Shares in Rolls-Royce were down 1.7% in early trade in London.

Sports Direct buys Jacks Wills

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct (SPD.L) has won the race to buy preppy retailer Jack Wills out of administration.

Sports Direct sealed a deal to acquire the business for £12.7 million late on Monday evening.

Wills will be part of a new division headed by Michael Murray, Ashley’s future son-in-law and Sports Direct’s head of elevation.

Murray said he was “delighted” to take charge of the business and said it will continue to have its own management team.

“Jack Wills has made a name for itself carving out a unique place in the minds of consumers since its launch and has today grown into one of the most recognised British fashion brands,” Murray said.

“Having taken a personal role in driving the decision to bid for this business, I am absolutely thrilled that Sports Direct was successful."

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said “it is not clear that Sports Direct has the management depth to take on yet another loss-making High Street chain,” given its problems with House of Fraser.

Shares in Sports Direct were up 2.4%.

European markets under pressure

European markets were mixed as international trade tensions continue to flare.

The US Treasury labelled China an official currency manipulator overnight, continuing the recent escalations in tensions between the US and China. Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said the move was “unambiguously escalatory, and markets are taking the news negatively.”

However, China took steps to limit the depreciation of the yuan against the dollar following the Treasury statement. The move “eased concerns a touch,” according to Markets.com’s chief market analyst Neil Wilson.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down by 0.4%, France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up by 0.2%, Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up by 0.1%, and the Euronext 100 (^N100) was flat.

Asian markets were hit by the simmering trade tensions overnight. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) closed down by 0.6%, the Hong Kong Hang Send Index (^HSI) was down by 0.5%, and China’s Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was down by 1.5%.

What to expect in the US

US stocks look set for a higher open later today. S&P500 futures (ES=F) were up by 0.3%, Dow Jones futures (YM=F) were up by 0.3%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up by 0.5%.

Companies reporting later today in the US include: