business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The complaint often is that legislation can hurt business. But apparently it also can create business opportunities.

Like in California, where Los Angeles will impose a ban on free plastic shopping bags on January 1, 2014, in addition to requiring that retailers charge 10 cents per paper bag. There are expectations in many quarters that the state of California could follow LA's lead.

Which has led a company called Command Packaging to invest up to $25 million to create what it calls a "Smarterbag," made from recycled agricultural plastic, that is bag ban compliant, will cost 10 cents a bag, and reusable an estimated 125 times - making them both environmentally and economically viable.

Advertising Age reports that "more than half of marketer and agency professionals surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions predicted they would increase ad spending in digital media during the next 12 months, far more than the share predicting the same for traditional channels such as cable TV (31%), broadcast TV (20%), magazines (14%) and national newspapers (11%)."

• The Birmingham News reports that Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) has made an initial minimum bid of $16.13 million to acquire 43 remaining Belle Foods stores in the deep south, though the company says it would close or sell 13 of the stores if the bid is accepted. "AWG has assembled a group of buyers and operators for the different stores, according to court filings."

The bid is said to be a "stalking horse" effort against which any other bid will be measured. The story notes that "Belle Foods’ primary creditor is C&S Wholesale Grocers, a competitor to AWG in the wholesale grocery business. Belle Foods owes C&S $38.3 million for financing and goods and another $3 million in other claims."
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