US: Costco will increase its standard annual membership fees in the US and Canada by $5 to $55 from 1 November while fees for executive membership, held by roughly half its 22 million members in North America, will rise from $100 to $110. Costco reported a 14% rise in global sales for the year to 28 August to $87bn. Profits rose to $1.46bn from $1.30bn.
Japan: Supermarket chain Aeon has announced two acquisitions with a combined value of ¥45bn (£379m). It has acquired Marunaka and Sanyo Marunaka to increase its presence in western Japan. Aeon reported a 19% rise in operating profits to ¥48bn as demand for food and household staples rose following the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.
France: Standard & Poor’s has upgraded its rating for Pernod Ricard to the low end of investment grade to reflect progress on debt reduction. Pernod’s operating performance was “robust” and it was confident the French spirits maker would successfully refinance its “sizeable 2013 maturities”. But S&P warned maintaining the current grade of BBB-/A-3 was dependent on it not pursuing any big, debt-funded acquisitions. “We would consider a downgrade if Pernod exhibited signs of a looser financial policy such as an unexpected share buyback programme or a largely debt-financed sizable acquisition,” it said.
Jamaica: Red Stripe beer bought in the US will no longer be brewed in Jamaica from early 2012. Diageo has decided to relocate production to the US, where Pennsylvania-based City Brewing will begin brewing it from January. “The brand’s personality will continue to embody the Jamaican culture that has always been its inspiration,” insisted Sheila Stanziale, president of Diageo-Guinness USA.
Switzerland: Discounter Denner has promoted its chief financial officer to CEO. Former company head Peter Bamert left in January because of a disagreement over strategy. Mario Irminger, who joined Denner as CFO 18 months ago from Heineken Switzerland, has been interim CEO since then.