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NRF opposes settlement in swipe-fee case

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A trade group representing the retail industry is requesting that a federal judge throw out a proposed settlement in an antitrust lawsuit over credit card swipe fees.

The National Retail Federation filed an amicus curiae brief with U.S. District Judge John Gleeson of Brooklyn, N.Y. The case concerns fees that the NRF said cost consumers $30 billion per year, calling the settlement a "surrender" and saying the fees amount to "price fixing." The suit dates back to 2005, when a group of six trade groups and 13 retailers — mostly individual stores and small chains — filed it.

"This is an empty settlement," NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. "It fails to address the price fixing that harms merchants and their customers; It takes away retailers’ rights to ever try again; And it offers virtually nothing in return. It should be tossed out of court as the failure that it is."

NRF said that it had several other retailers that supported the brief had opted out of money offered under the settlement because accepting it would restrict future legal action, and that the share of the $7.25 billion each retailer would receive if it accepted the settlement would amount to less than three months’ worth of swipe fee charges.

"Retailers simply cannot understand how the American system of justice can permit class action lawyers whom they have never met and who know nothing about their business to craft a ‘settlement’ that will preclude them forevermore from seeking redress on future losses without so much as offering them the opportunity to opt out," the NRF said. "It gives the credit card networks carte blanche to set and manipulate interchange rates going forward without fear of future private suits. There is nothing that the credit card networks could give that is worth this unbridled loss of control."

 

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T.PAUL says:
Jul-06-2013 05:51 am

I hope this issue will go smooth fair and square.Swipe fee charges can be annoying and the credit card networks seems to take advantage of the service demands which is totally wrong. Especially that holiday is coming near. Those credit cards would be swipe more than you'll expected. Holiday shopping always use credit cards. As a matter of fact, MasterCard has started offering user info to marketing corporations, though they state the data that's sold is only shopping habits not identities. A financial solution will help you pay off your credit card bill this month.

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Giant-Landover launches prescription savings card

BY Alaric DeArment

LANDOVER, Md. — Giant Food is offering discounts at the pharmacy counter with a new card available for a one-time enrollment fee, the supermarket chain said Tuesday.

Giant, the Ahold USA-operated supermarket banner also known as Giant-Landover due to being based in Landover, Md., and to distinguish it from fellow Ahold chain Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., announced the launch of the Giant Prescription Savings Card, which offers discounts on branded and generic drugs and personalized savings on other health-related products.

The card is available for a $10 fee per household and allows cardholders to pay $3.99 for a 30-day supply of some generic drugs, $9.99 for a 90-day supply and discounts on pet medications, as well as flu shots and diabetes testing supplies.

"We are committed to meeting our customers’ health and wellness needs while offering outstanding value," Giant director of pharmacy operations Gayle Shields said. "The Giant Prescription Savings Card will enable loyal customers to purchase the high-quality prescriptions and pet medications they need at a fraction of the price."

 

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Campbell to acquire kids nutrition company Plum Organics

BY Jason Owen

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Company today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Plum Organics, a provider of premium organic foods and snacks that serve the nutritional needs of babies, toddlers and children.

The company, based in Emeryville, Calif., is the No. 2 brand of organic baby food in the U.S. and the No. 4 baby food brand overall.

The acquisition of Plum Organics will provide Campbell with an attractive platform to extend its core categories of simple meals, snacks and beverages and enhance its access to a new generation of consumers. Plum’s products have strong distribution in key customer channels, including online and  natural and baby specialty outlets. With the addition of Plum Organics’ products, Campbell’s portfolio of kid-focused soups, beverages and snacks will have annual sales of more than $1 billion.

Baby food is an approximately $2 billion category in the United States. From 2010 to 2012, the premium and organic segments grew at an average annual rate of 43%.

Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and CEO, said, "Plum Organics’ nutritious, on-trend products are a great addition to our North American portfolio of leading brands. The acquisition will help deliver on our dual mandate to strengthen our core businesses and to expand into faster-growing categories and adjacencies. It represents another step toward our long-term goal of shifting Campbell’s center of gravity."

Plum, started in 2007 by co-founder Neil Grimmer, has used rapid innovation to launch more than 150 products for babies, toddlers and kids in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Top Plum products include organic baby food in convenient squeezable pouches; "Super Puffs," a line of bite-sized nutritious puffed snacks; "Plum Mighty Four," a new line of nutritious toddler snack pouches and "Plum Kids" ‘Mashups,’ a line of fun squeezable fruit, veggies and Greek yogurt.

Campbell plans to operate Plum as a standalone business within its Campbell North America division. Senior members of Plum Organics’ management team, including Grimmer, will join Campbell and continue to lead Plum and its mission-driven culture from Emeryville. As President of Plum, Grimmer will report to Mark Alexander, President of Campbell North America.

Plum Organics generated $93 million in gross sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition will not affect Campbell’s previously-announced fiscal 2013 guidance.

Campbell will fund the acquisition through available credit. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, and is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

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