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Kroger goes to court over fuel program patent

BY CSA STAFF

Cincinnati Kroger Co. has filed a federal suit against Excentus Corp., which has demanded the grocer obtain a license to expand its fuel rewards program to Shell stations, according to the Business Courier of Cincinnati.

Excentus holds the patents to the technology associated with many retailers’ fuel rewards programs. Kroger is asking the court to declare Excentus’ patents invalid with regard to its discount program.

The grocer announced last month that it was extending its Kroger rewards program, in which customers can receive a fuel discount for every $100 they spend on groceries to selected Shell stations. The discount had previously applied only to fuel purchased at Kroger stations.

Court documents show that in 2009 Excentus asserted that Kroger’s fuel rewards program infringed on eight of the company’s patents and demanded that Kroger take a license under the Excentus patents. According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, negotiations to avoid litigation were not successful.

In June 2009 Excentus filed a patent infringement action against Safeway on similar grounds.

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Sam’s Club honors outstanding Hispanic business owners

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Sam’s Club has announced the winners of the “Como Si: Doing Business Today for Tomorrow!” contest.

The winners of the nationwide contest, presented by Sam’s Club and The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, were selected from contestants who submitted short videos promoting their small business, detailing what has brought their enterprise through today’s tough economic environment and what their plan is to “keep up and keep going.” The winners were chosen for originality, creativity, relevance and clarity of their videos.

 

The winners are:

 

Delmy Franco, My Tidy Files – North Hollywood, Ca. Alba Gonzalez-Nylander, Alba Video Production – Franklin, Tenn. Michelle Manon, Tamahli – San Antonio, Texas Jesus Ojeda, Ojeda’s, Inc – Des Moines, Iowa Molly Dalton Robbins, Palomita and Chucho Clothing – San Rafael, Ca. Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, Lulu’s – Anaheim, Ca. Nelson Soler, Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute, Inc – Milwaukee, Wisc. Roger Villeda, Villeda Marketing International – Denver, Colo. Lilian Jimenez, Jimenez Communications – Fontana, Ca. Jennifer Fuentes, Independent Beauty Consultant – San Antonio, Texas

 

The winners receive a trip to the home office of Sam’s Club in Bentonville, Ark. to learn about incorporating the latest technology into their businesses while creating a better bottom line.

“Small business owners are pressed to find more effective and affordable ways to promote their business and compete in a tough economic environment. They must do so while learning new skills, such as managing cash flow, logistics and human resources. We are pleased to be part of an initiative that can help deliver valuable information to those who are eager to learn and apply it,” said Carlos Doubleday, Sam’s Club VP.

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Collective Brands reports 4Q, FY results

BY CSA STAFF

TOPEKA, Kan. Collective Brands reported that its fourth-quarter net loss was $10.9 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $144 million, or $2.28 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Full-year 2009 net earnings increased to $82.7 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $68.7 million, or $1.09 per diluted share in 2008.

 

Collective Brands’ fourth quarter 2009 net sales were $741.7 million up 0.9%. The company’s fourth quarter 2009 comparable-store sales increased 0.7%.

Collective Brands’ 2009 net sales were $3.31 billion, down 3.9%. The company’s 2009 comparable-store sales decreased 2.3%.  related to litigation, asset impairments, severance, cancellation of performance share units, and the expiration of the Tommy Hilfiger adult footwear license.

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