The daily business briefing: September 20, 2018

Harold Maass
The Amazon Go sign
David Ryder/Getty Images
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Alibaba founder retreats from vow to create 1 million U.S. jobs

Jack Ma, founder and chairman of the Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, backed away from his promise to create 1 million U.S. jobs over five years, saying "our promise cannot be fulfilled" due to the trade war that has erupted between the Trump administration and China. "The promise was made on the premise of friendly U.S.-China partnership and rational trade relations," he said. "That premise no longer exists today." Ma made his pledge to President Trump in January 2017. This year, Trump has hit China with a series of new and raised tariffs on Chinese imports, and Beijing has retaliated in kind. Trump imposed his latest new levies on Monday, targeting $200 billion in Chinese goods. China retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods. [CNBC]


Amazon considering opening 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021

Amazon is considering opening 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores over the next few years, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The plan would mark a costly expansion and major threat to convenience-store chains like 7-Eleven, as well as sandwich shops like Subway, Panera Bread, and other quick-service food options. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been experimenting with small cashierless stores since 2016, with some early versions offering limited selections of salads, sandwiches, and snacks, as well as small selections of groceries, like conventional convenience stores. Adding 3,000 of the stores would make AmazonGo one of the largest U.S. chains. Bloomberg said Amazon is considering opening 10 locations this year, 50 more in 2019, and the rest by 2021. [Bloomberg]


Stanley Black & Decker prepares to launch more Craftsman tools

Stanley Black & Decker announced Wednesday that it plans to introduce more than 1,200 new products under the Craftsman tool brand, which it bought from struggling retailer Sears last year. The new products will include such offerings as hand and automotive tools, a new line of power tools, and lawn and garden equipment. The relaunch will include a new Craftsman logo. Stanley Black & Decker said it aimed to make 30 percent of the new tools in the U.S. initially, then expand to 50 percent within a few years. "With the revitalization of the brand, we're focused on delivering high quality, high value products to continue this tradition" while making the products available at more retailers than before, said Jeffery Doehne, Stanley Black & Decker's general manager of Craftsman. [Fox Business]


Nike sells out of more items after Kaepernick ad launch

Nike has sold out 61 percent more merchandise since unveiling its controversial ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick earlier this month, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a review of data on the company's online sales. Kaepernick, who ignited a national controversy by kneeling during the national anthem to protest police mistreatment of African Americans, provided the first glimpse of the ad in a Labor Day weekend tweet. Critics responded with calls for a Nike boycott, and President Trump slammed Nike's campaign in tweets. "Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts," he wrote, without citing evidence. Thomson Reuters research showed that Nike actually sold out of significantly more items from Sept. 3 to Sept. 13 than in the 10 days before the ad's release. [Reuters]


Global stocks edge up after latest U.S.-China tariffs lower than feared

World stocks rose on Thursday in a sign of relief after the latest tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by the U.S. and then China were less harsh than expected. An MSCI index tracking shares in 47 countries rose by 0.2 percent. The pan-European STOXX benchmark gained 0.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei showed little change. The trade war remained a major concern, but the absence of any new aggressive rhetoric from President Trump helped to raise hope for an easing in the tensions. "Making forecasts on Trump is always a risk but it's a fact that at the moment the escalation has taken a break," said Anthilia Capital fund manager and strategist Giuseppe Sersale. U.S. stock futures rose early Thursday, pointing to a higher open. [Reuters, CNBC]