Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 16, 2018

Nike announces misconduct inquiry as No. 2 executive resigns, former executive says Walmart inflated online sales, and more

1

Nike's No. 2 executive resigns as company reveals misconduct complaints

Nike's brand president, Trevor Edwards, the company's No. 2 executive and once considered a potential successor to CEO Mark Parker, has resigned and will leave immediately, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Parker said Edwards would continue to serve as an adviser until officially retiring in August. The news came on the same day that Parker announced in an internal memo that Nike was acting on reports of "behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect, and empowerment." He praised the "strong and courageous employees" who came forward with the allegations, and did not specify whether the complaints involved Edwards or other executives.

2

Former Walmart executive says retailer exaggerated online sales growth

A former Walmart executive is suing the retail giant, saying it fired him under false pretenses after he raised concerns that the company had issued misleading online sales results in an "overly aggressive push to show meteoric growth" as it battled against Amazon. Tri Huynh, a former director of business development at Walmart, was fired last year. Walmart said it would "vigorously defend" itself against the allegations, which it dismissed as baseless claims "by a disgruntled former associate, who was let go as part of an overall restructuring." Walmart shares fell by more than 1 percent on Thursday after the news broke.

3

Winn-Dixie parent company announces plan to close 94 stores

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of supermarket chain Winn-Dixie, plans to close 94 stores and file for bankruptcy protection, the company said Thursday. The cuts will leave it with 582 stores. Southeastern said it had reached a restructuring deal with creditors who hold 80 percent of its debt. CEO Anthony Hucker said the agreement was "an important step" in the company's effort to keep its grocery business going in an "extremely competitive retail market." The bankruptcy filing will be the company's third since 2005. The other two also involved shutting some stores, as well as layoffs.

4

Stocks struggle as political uncertainty worries investors

U.S. stock futures were flat early Friday as political uncertainty spooked some investors. As news reports fueled speculation that President Trump might continue shaking up his top staff, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq-100 inched down by less than 0.1 percent, while S&P 500 futures were essentially flat, rising by 1.4 points or 0.03 percent. The Dow rose by 0.5 percent on Thursday, while the S&P 500 edged down by 0.08 percent for its fourth straight loss. The Nasdaq Composite rose by 0.2 percent on Thursday. All three indexes are poised to end the week with losses of 1 percent or more, after days of worries about a potential global trade war.

5

Law firm involved in Panama Papers leak closing down

Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm whose 11.5 million leaked documents revealed how the world's super-rich hide financial assets, is shutting down at the end of March. The trove of documents, known as the Panama Papers, was published by an international consortium of journalists. The firm said in a statement that the "reputational damage" from the revelations, and the damage to many of its wealthy and powerful clients, left it with no option but to close. Since the publishing of the papers, the firm had cut back to a staff of 50, down from about 600 employees in 40 countries before the 2016 report, which won the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists a Pulitzer Prize it shared with McClatchy and The Miami Herald.

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