NEWS WATCH: VISA/MASTERCARD NOTICES SENT TO 8 MILLION RETAILERS...FMI TO PARTNER WITH IMRA ON MARKETECHNICS SHOW...CANADIAN RETAIL MOGUL MOVING ON SELFRIDGES

VISA/MASTERCARD NOTICES SENT TO 8 MILLION RETAILERSlement were sent earlier this month to the retailers and others who are class members in the lawsuit against Visa USA, San Francisco, and MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y., according to Lloyd Constantine, a principle in Constantine & Partners, the New York law firm that was the merchants' lead counsel. Although the terms of the settlement,

VISA/MASTERCARD NOTICES SENT TO 8 MILLION RETAILERS

lement were sent earlier this month to the retailers and others who are class members in the lawsuit against Visa USA, San Francisco, and MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y., according to Lloyd Constantine, a principle in Constantine & Partners, the New York law firm that was the merchants' lead counsel. Although the terms of the settlement, which call for Visa and MasterCard to pay $3.05 billion to retailers, require the payments to be made over the next 10 years, both companies have agreed to try to make the payouts in the next year to save on administrative costs, Constantine said last week. The final allocation plan will be filed by Aug. 18.

FMI TO PARTNER WITH IMRA ON MARKETECHNICS SHOW

WASHINGTON -- The Food Marketing Institute here said it will be joined by the International Mass Retail Association in the planning and coordination of the 2004 Marketechnics show, which is focused on retail technology applications. The annual convention, launched in 1992, will be held Feb. 29 to March 2, 2004, at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. According to the agreement, IMRA members will join FMI members in the planning of more than 20 Marketechnics educational sessions. The two organizations also agreed to extensively market the convention to their respective memberships.

CANADIAN RETAIL MOGUL MOVING ON SELFRIDGES

TORONTO -- Galen Weston, chairman of Loblaw Cos. here, said earlier this month he's gained control of Selfridges & Co., the London-based department store group. Weston's acquisition vehicle, Oxford Acquisitions, said it now controls -- or will soon control -- 86.5% of Selfridges' shares. However, U.K. takeover regulations require that a bidder acquire 90% of a company's shares to have the offer declared unconditional in all respects.

SAFEWAY EXPANDS ONLINE SERVICE TO SEATTLE

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway here said its online grocery shopping service, Safeway.com, will begin making deliveries today in the Seattle area from five supermarkets, with a sixth supermarket to be added on Aug. 11. Safeway.com said it is offering delivery in Seattle for a $6.95 fee, 30% off its standard price, with no minimum order requirement. Safeway.com already serves seven other markets: Vancouver, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco; Los Angeles/Orange County; San Diego; and Las Vegas.

WILD OATS PLANS NEW DC IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Wild Oats Markets, Boulder, Colo., said it planned to open a new distribution center for perishables here by February of next year. The 241,000-square-foot facility would replace a smaller, 70,000-square-foot DC in City of Commerce, Calif., a spokeswoman for the natural-foods chain told SN. The lease on the City of Commerce site expires in January, she said. The new DC would serve the 16-store Henry's Marketplace banner, which is slated to add six locations by the end of next year.