NEWS WATCH

ALBERTSON'S TO INCREASE ACME CAP-EXe said last week it has committed $70 million in capital expenditures for its Malverne, Pa.-based Acme stores division in 2002, a 17% increase. Commented Lawrence Johnston, Albertson's chairman and chief executive officer, "Our commitment to the Acme division is solid. As part of our strategic growth program we will continue to allocate the resources necessary to

ALBERTSON'S TO INCREASE ACME CAP-EX

e said last week it has committed $70 million in capital expenditures for its Malverne, Pa.-based Acme stores division in 2002, a 17% increase. Commented Lawrence Johnston, Albertson's chairman and chief executive officer, "Our commitment to the Acme division is solid. As part of our strategic growth program we will continue to allocate the resources necessary to fuel this powerful engine. Acme's success helps us drive shareholder value." During the past five years more than 40% of the existing Acme store base has been remodeled, enlarged or replaced, according to the company.

WAL-MART SETTLES EEOC SUIT

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said last week it has settled a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the retailer violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. Wal-Mart agreed to pay a total of $6.8 million in damages to applicants who were allegedly denied employment because of certain disabilities discovered through a questionnaire given to all applicants, the EEOC said in a statement. The questionnaire was given to prospective employees from 1994 until 1998, when Wal-Mart discontinued the survey because it was in violation of the ADA, Bill Wertz, Wal-Mart spokesman, told SN.

A&P CLOSING THREE NYC FOOD EMPORIUMS

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here said it will close three Food Emporium stores on Manhattan's Upper West Side before the end of the year. A company spokeswoman told SN the three stores are underperforming units and are being closed as part of A&P's previously announced decision to close 39 locations following a companywide store-by-store review.

CLASS ACTION SUIT DROPPED AGAINST PUBLIX

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Six Hispanic employees of Publix Super Markets here have reportedly dropped a class-action discrimination suit that claimed the workers were denied promotions because of their ethnicity. A judge dismissed the class-action claim in October, but gave the plaintiffs time to strengthen their case and re-apply for class-action status, according The Associated Press. However, the AP reported that the three plaintiffs decided to drop the case, and the three other plaintiffs are proceeding with private suits against the company. A spokeswoman for Publix was not available for comment.

PRICE CHOPPER WORKERS VOTE DOWN UNION

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Golub Corp., the parent company of Price Chopper Supermarkets, here said last week its warehouse workers voted against unionization by 83% in the company's second organizing vote in 18 months. In June 2000, the workers rejected unionization by a 70% margin, according to the company. Neil M. Golub, president and chief executive officer, said, "The Golub Corp. has a strong commitment to its associates. As a family in business for 70 years, we know that one-to-one dialogue with our associates is much more effective than dialogue through a third party, especially one that doesn't have the best interest of the workers in mind."