NEWSWATCH

Food Banks to Benefit from Coupon Case York attorney general, said last week three food banks in upstate New York will receive $397,000 as the final payment from a $4.2 million fund that resulted from the 1997 settlement of a lawsuit the state filed against Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati; and nine other manufacturers. The suit stemmed from a 14-month "zero-coupon"

Food Banks to Benefit from Coupon Case

York attorney general, said last week three food banks in upstate New York will receive $397,000 as the final payment from a $4.2 million fund that resulted from the 1997 settlement of a lawsuit the state filed against Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati; and nine other manufacturers. The suit stemmed from a 14-month "zero-coupon" test that P&G spearheaded in February 1996, which P&G said was designed to redirect coupon money to promotions to deliver values to all consumers, not just those who clip coupons. The state charged that an agreement among the manufacturers to jointly agree to stop distributing coupons was similar to price-fixing, while Wegmans was accused of approaching the manufacturers to limit couponing. None of the defendants admitted to any wrongdoing but settled with the state to avoid the cost of lengthy litigation. Most of the money in the settlement fund was returned to consumers in a 16-county area of western New York in the form of $2-off coupons. The remaining money is being distributed to Food Bank of Western New York, Buffalo; Foodlink, Rochester; and Food Bank of Central New York, Syracuse.

Kmart Experimenting With C-Stores

TROY, Mich. -- Kmart Corp. here has reportedly said it will expand a test of a gas station mini-mart format at stores that have the room and zoning to accommodate it. The company opened three Big K Express gas station mini-marts on the property of stores last year as part of a pilot program, according to the Associated Press. Offering snacks, milk, cigarettes and coffee inside as well as gas outside, the mini-marts are in Ministee, Mich.; Canton, Ohio; and Norfolk, Va., the AP said.

Fleming Offerings Raise $500 Million

DALLAS -- Fleming here said it did two offerings last week that raised more than $500 million to pay down debt. One offering brought in $355 million of 10-1/8% senior notes due 2008, and the other brought in $150 million of 5.25% convertible senior subordinated notes due 2009.

'Coupons for Hope' Drive to Start Next Month

LOS ANGELES -- The Food Industries Circle for the City of Hope said retailers in northern California and the Chicago area will, for the first time, join operators in southern California, the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest to participate in a series of three "Coupons of Hope" newspaper inserts. The inserts are scheduled to run in all areas April 8, July 15 and Oct. 7, with a first-ever bilingual insert in Spanish and English scheduled for Sept. 9 only in southern California and the Southwest. Money raised from the coupon program is slated to help fund medical research and patient care at the City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute here.