NEWS WATCH: WAL-MART EYES FIRST STORE IN NEW YORK CITY... CALIFORNIA CHAINS TO PAY JANITORS $22.4 MILLION... SEC FILES CHARGES AGAINST KMART EXECUTIVES, VENDORS

WAL-MART EYES FIRST STORE IN NEW YORK CITYere is eyeing the Rego Park section of Queens to build its first New York City store, a company spokeswoman told SN. Initial plans call for a 135,000-square-foot Wal-Mart discount outlet to be under construction in 2007, with an opening date of 2008. Mia Masten, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, told SN the store "won't be a typical battleship blue building."CALIFORNIA

WAL-MART EYES FIRST STORE IN NEW YORK CITY

ere is eyeing the Rego Park section of Queens to build its first New York City store, a company spokeswoman told SN. Initial plans call for a 135,000-square-foot Wal-Mart discount outlet to be under construction in 2007, with an opening date of 2008. Mia Masten, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, told SN the store "won't be a typical battleship blue building."

CALIFORNIA CHAINS TO PAY JANITORS $22.4 MILLION

LOS ANGELES -- The three major supermarket chains here have agreed to pay $22.4 million to janitors who claimed in a class-action lawsuit that they had been illegally classified as subcontractors and subsequently underpaid. The money will be split among at least 2,100 janitors who worked for Albertsons, Kroger's Ralphs stores, and Safeway's Vons stores between 1994 and 2001. Individual payouts will range from $4,500 to $9,300, depending on where and for how long they worked.

SEC FILES CHARGES AGAINST KMART EXECUTIVES, VENDORS

WASHINGTON -- The Securities and Exchange Commission here last week filed civil charges against several former Kmart executives and the company's product vendors for inflating Kmart earnings by improperly "pulling forward" millions of dollars in vendor allowances during Kmart's 2001 fiscal year. The improprieties resulted in Kmart's earnings being overstated, and its cost of goods understated, during the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2001. Five executives agreed to pay civil fines totaling $160,000, reports said. Former Kmart official Michael Frank agreed to be barred for serving as an official for a public company for five years, and former Kmart executive Albert Abbood agreed to a $50,000 fine. Vendors Darrell Edquist of Kodak, Thomas Taylor of Pepsi, and Randall Stone of Frito-Lay settled with the SEC without admitting any wrongdoing and agreed to pay more than $100,000 in fines, reports said. Two other executives have not settled, reports said. They are David Kirkpatrick, a former Coca-Cola vice president, and David Bixler, a former sales director for Pepsi and its current vice president and general manager.

AHOLD APPEALS ARGENTINE COURT IN DISCO SALE

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said it has appealed an order by an Argentine court that could interfere with the sale of its Disco unit to Cencosud, a Chilean company. The order, which was based on the court's belief that some shares in the company were transferred prior to antitrust approval, could result in Cencosud transferring back the shares of Disco that Ahold had transferred to it last month, at least temporality. "Both companies remain committed to the transaction and intend to vigorously fight the order," Ahold said in a statement, adding that the deal had already received the approval of Argentine authorities.

STATER DONATING $185,000 TO ANTI-HUNGER AGENCIES

COLTON, Calif. -- Stater Bros. Markets here said it will award checks for $5,000 apiece to 37 anti-hunger agencies in the five Southern California counties where it operates -- a donation totaling $185,000. The funds were raised through the Food For All program.