NEWS ROUNDUP

City Council OKs Pathmark Storel here voted last week to allow Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J., to build a unit in the Springfield Gardens section of Queens, thus overriding a veto by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.The council's approval hinged on a condition that required Pathmark's developer to pay $400,000 to other neighborhood food stores and community groups.Giuliani raised ethical and legal objections

City Council OKs Pathmark Store

l here voted last week to allow Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J., to build a unit in the Springfield Gardens section of Queens, thus overriding a veto by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

The council's approval hinged on a condition that required Pathmark's developer to pay $400,000 to other neighborhood food stores and community groups.

Giuliani raised ethical and legal objections to the development, saying the payment was "a form of illegal tax" and "unrelated to any legitimate zoning purpose." Moreover, he stressed that this sort of deal discourages other companies from trying to do business in the city.

The mayor has suggested that his office might consider taking legal action to stop the development.

Ralphs Still Converting Banners

COMPTON, Calif. -- Ralphs Grocery Co. here said it expects to complete the conversion of 113 stores to the Ralphs logo by mid-September, and 15 conversions to the Food 4 Less banner by December. The chain said it has already converted 77 former Alpha Beta, Boys and Viva stores to the conventional Ralphs format and two former Ralphs to the Food 4 Less warehouse format since the merger in June of Ralphs and Food 4 Less Supermarkets, La Habra, Calif. It plans to complete another 36 conversions to the Ralphs banner within a couple of weeks. However, while those conversions require only a change in signs and schematics, the conversion of stores to the Food 4 Less format requires closing stores for up to six weeks while existing racks are replaced with warehouse fixtures, the company noted. Consequently, the conversions of 13 more units to the Food 4 Less format will not be completed until December, Ralphs said. Once all the changes have been made -- including the divestment of 27 stores and the closure of 16 units -- the company will operate 277 Ralphs and 71 Food 4 Less units.

Retailers Help in Leukemia Fight

SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here and Penn Traffic Co., Syracuse, N.Y., both recently participated in special events to support the Leukemia Society of America.

Food Lion employees raised about $75,000 by each donating $3 to the society on Dress Down Days.

Meanwhile, Penn Traffic's divisions developed their own programs to raise money. For instance, shoppers at P&C Food Markets redeemed coupons for vendor-sponsored products. At Penn Traffic's Big Bear division, vendors donated money to the Society each time shoppers purchased designated products.

All totalled, Penn Traffic raised about $200,000 for the "Cure 2000" campaign.

Wegman Family Gives Tuition Aid

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Robert B. Wegman, chairman and chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets here, and his wife, Peggy, said they will donate $25 million over a 10-year period to six local Catholic elementary schools. The Wegmans' gift will support children from low- and middle-income families who wish to attend one of the six inner-city schools; it will also provide assistance to those who wish to continue their education at a Catholic middle school through eighth grade. The average cost of educating a child in a local Catholic elementary school is $3,000; the Wegmans' gift will pay approximately $1,800 of that cost through a voucher system that will provide financial aid to families based on financial need and parental involvement.

Both Wegmans attended Catholic schools and began providing tuition assistance in 1987 to students in kindergarten through sixth grade; in 1993 they started the Wegman Early Education Program to expand and enhance Catholic preschool and day-care programs.

NFBA to Give $3.2 Million to MDA

RESTON, Va. -- The National Food Brokers Association is donating $3.2 million to the Muscular Dystrophy Association today at MDA's annual Labor Day telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis.

Brokers, manufacturers and retailers worked together to raise the money for MDA through the Aisles of Smiles program.