FINANCE

Late-fee agreement in Hollywood Video case

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A trustee for bankrupt retailers Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video reached an agreement on Thursday with all 50 states over how the defunct company collects late fees and other charges from its former customers, the Associated Press reported.

The agreement bars debt collectors from filing negative credit reports or threatening to file such reports against former customers, the report said.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Growing concern over food and gas prices

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago — In its most recent consumer sentiment and behavior survey, Technomic, the Chicago-based food industry research firm, found that 84% of consumers believe that grocery prices have risen in the past three months and 62% believe restaurant prices have risen.

Bob Goldin, executive VP of Technomic, believes that the rapid rise in gas prices, now at record highs, has raised consumer sensitivity to price increases in grocery stores and restaurants.

"Consumers are deeply concerned about the price of gas, which they expect to continue to rise,” he said. “As a result, they are very likely to reduce their spending on groceries and restaurant meals and increase their reliance on coupons and deals."

Goldin also notes that consumers have become more aware of total value, of which package/portion size is a key component, and urges food and restaurant companies to be sensitive to the risks of downsizing.

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OPERATIONS

Kroger stepping up in fight against organized retail theft

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Kroger Co. is increasing its efforts to stop organized retail theft rings, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The supermarket company now has an executive in charge of organized crime investigations. He oversees investigators in each of Kroger’s 17 divisions across the nation.

Last October, the Kroger team worked with federal immigration agents in Seattle to apprehend 32 people suspected of stealing $4.87 million worth of goods from six retailers over 16 months, the report said. Authorities say the ring shipped vehicles full of stolen goods overseas to be sold in Cambodia. Kroger lost $1.21 million.

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