Retailer Raises Outlook for Year

Gap Inc., which has been hit hard by a prolonged sales slump, on Thursday raised its outlook for unadjusted profit for the year, as it heads into the important holiday-sales season.

The San Francisco-based retailer, which last fiscal year posted its first annual sales decline since fiscal 2011 and is expected to post lower revenue this year as well, now expects to earn $1.41 to $1.50 a share on a reported basis for the full fiscal year, up from a previous forecast of $1.37 to $1.47 a share.

The company also affirmed its adjusted-profit projection, which usually factors out certain items and is the metric analysts typically forecast.

Meanwhile, in the 13-week period ended Oct. 29, Gap's profit fell 18% to $204 million, or 51 cents a share. Excluding restructuring-related charges, profit fell to 60 cents a share from 63 cents in the year-ago period.

Results in the latest reporting period also were affected by a fire at one of the company's largest distribution centers.

--Maria Armental


Thai Tycoon to Buy U.S. Food Company

A company owned by Dhanin Chearavanont, Thailand's richest man, has agreed to buy U.S.- based frozen-food company Bellisio Parent LLC for nearly $1.1 billion, the latest move by an acquisitive Thai tycoon to branch out beyond the home market.

An agreement for Mr. Dhanin's company, Charoen Pokphand Foods, to acquire Bellisio Parent is expected to close within 180 days, CP Foods said Thursday.

Established in 1990, the Bellisio group is the third-largest producer and distributor of single serve frozen entrees in the U.S. by unit share.

It sells brands such as Michelina's, Boston Market, Chili's and Atkins.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. advised CP Foods on the deal.

--P.R. Venkat and Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol


Auto Maker Plans Battery-Power Unit

Toyota Motor Corp. said it would set up a unit to build a battery-powered car and get it to market as quickly as possible.

For years the world's largest car maker by volume has expressed skepticism about battery-powered cars, saying their short range and long charging times limit customer appeal -- adding, though, that it would sell battery-powered cars if consumers showed they would buy them. Toyota focused instead on gas-electric hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles that perform more like conventional cars.

Sales of its Prius hybrid sedan are decliningin the U.S., where cheap gas is crimping the appeal of fuel-efficient vehicles. But environment-minded car buyers are lining up for battery-powered cars, and government regulations in the U.S., China and Europe favor them over ones powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The electric-vehicle unit will consist of four people: one from Toyota and three from its main suppliers.

--Sean McLain

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 18, 2016 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

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