NEWS WATCH: TWO FORMER MARSH EXECUTIVES SUE COMPANY...TESCO SAID TO LEASE 32,500-SQUARE-FOOT STORE...ATTORNEY SATISFIED WITH RALPHS' $70M FINE.

Two Former Marsh Executives Sue Companymarkets executives have filed lawsuits against the company, alleging that the retailer violated its employment agreements with them. David Marsh, the former president of the company who left in a management shake-up earlier this year, said the company has been underpaying his severance salary and benefits by more than $33,000 per year. Jodi Marsh, former vice

Two Former Marsh Executives Sue Company

markets executives have filed lawsuits against the company, alleging that the retailer violated its employment agreements with them. David Marsh, the former president of the company who left in a management shake-up earlier this year, said the company has been underpaying his severance salary and benefits by more than $33,000 per year. Jodi Marsh, former vice president of community relations and the former wife of David Marsh - the two reportedly filed for divorce shortly before she left the company in February - is seeking $2.16 million. She said the company agreed to maintain her salary of $160,000 per year after she left, plus benefits, and she is seeking triple damages. Shareholders were scheduled to vote late last week on the $88 million acquisition of the company by an affiliate of Sun Capital, Boca Raton, Fla.

Tesco Said to Lease 32,500-Square-Foot Store

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Tesco USA here has reportedly leased a 32,500-square-foot former Albertsons store in the Los Angeles area as the site for one of its Express-format stores. The store is more than double the size most observers had expected the retailer to operate. Tesco representatives could not be reached for comment, but a story in the Los Angeles Times said the company had taken a lease on the store in Glassell Park, a largely residential working-class neighborhood northeast of downtown Los Angeles, near Dodger Stadium, with a broadly based population that includes Caucasians, Hispanics and Asians.

Attorney Satisfied With Ralphs' $70M Fine

LOS ANGELES - Ralphs Grocery Co., the Compton, Calif.-based subsidiary of Kroger Co., Cincinnati, is scheduled to return to court Wednesday for a status conference where it will learn whether a U.S. District Court judge will accept the plea agreement it signed in June. A formal sentencing hearing is tentatively set for Oct. 16. Under terms of the plea agreement, Ralphs will pay $70 million in penalties for hiring locked-out employees under false names and Social Security numbers during the 141-day strike-lockout at the end of 2003 and early 2004. The U.S. Attorney's office said in a memorandum to the court last week the penalties are sufficient punishment. Ralphs also agreed to cooperate with a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office, "[which] has already designated numerous officers and employees of Ralphs as subjects or targets of [its] ongoing investigation," the memo said. Those individuals could be tried for federal crimes that could result in lengthy prison terms, the memo indicates.

Theft Losses at Supermarkets Declined Last Year

WASHINGTON - Food retailers used technology, surveillance, hotlines and other methods to decrease losses from theft and other forms of shrink to 1.69% of sales in 2005, down from 2% the previous year, according to the Food Marketing Institute Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention 2006 report, which was released here last week. According to the report, the most common methods used to prevent theft included closed-circuit television, used by 97% of the retailers surveyed and software monitoring point-of-sale transactions (76%). "Retailers who reduce shrink are the most vigilant and foster a culture of low tolerance," said FMI Senior Vice President Michael Sansolo. "They detect more theft, worthless checks, counterfeit money and fraud, yet the impact on their bottom line is lower because they recover more losses and prevent more crime."

Stater Bros. Settles Internet Dispute for $3.65M

COLTON, Calif. - Stater Bros. here said it has settled a dispute with WhyRunOut.com, an Internet grocery delivery company, without either party admitting liability. The retailer said it would pay WhyRunOut $3.65 million and that the parties would end their delivery agreement. Stater and WhyRunOut.com partnered to provide online shopping in various market areas, making a long-term agreement in 2001.