retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MarketWatch reports that Penn Traffic has “reached a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York, in connection with its previously disclosed investigation into, among other things, the company's accounting policies, practices and related conduct between 2001 and 2004. As with the company's recently announced settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its related investigation, the agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office imposed no fines or monetary penalties on Penn Traffic.

“As part of the non-prosecution agreement, the company accepted responsibility for the conduct of its employees during the relevant time period and agreed to provide full cooperation to the U.S. Attorney's Office with respect to its ongoing investigations through the conclusion of any and all related criminal trials. The recent settlement and agreement not to prosecute apply only to the company and do not address the previously disclosed investigations of two former Penn Traffic marketing executives,” who and have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

• The Washington Post reports on how the increased use of coupons in the US, noting that “with wages not rising as quickly as the cost of basic necessities, coupons are back in favor after many years of steadily declining popularity, experts said. Eager to lure customers into stores, many merchants are not only offering more coupons, but they're also experimenting with creative ways to deliver them, such as text-messaging them to cellphones. Consumers, meanwhile, are becoming more savvy about finding good deals thanks to Web sites devoted to coupon-clipping strategies.”

• The New York Times reports that there is an increase in the rate of children suffering from kidney stones, a malady more commonly experienced by adults. There are several possible reasons, such as too much salt and/or sucrose in their diets and not drinking enough water. The problem has gotten to the point where some hospitals are opening pediatric kidney stone clinics.

• The Village Company announced that it has acquired the Mr. Bubble brand, said to be the number one brand of bubble bath, from Ascendia Brands. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

KC's View: