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Shelf-Help?

Looks like shelf space is still the corporations' turf.

Don't expect the FTC to side with the Davids of the grocery business against the Goliaths yet. That was the message in a letter the FTC sent out in June rejecting a petition for changes in "slotting allowances" companies pay groceries for prime shelf placement.

"This response sends a chill up the spine of small manufacturers, whose ability to bring their products to consumers is being whittled away by the companies that control dominant shares of the marketplace," said Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), ranking member of the Small Business Committee.

The FTC's William Cohen says the commission is currently performing a study of slotting allowances, and that may lead to future action.

Withholding Holdout

The IRS is delaying assessing FICA or FUTA taxes, or imposing federal income tax withholding, on income from the exercise of statutory stock options or from the sale of the stock itself. "Given the significant administrative changes required to implement the proposed withholding, a delay in the effective date is necessary," says Pam Olson, acting assistant secretary for tax policy. "Consequently, employers will not be required to implement the changes until at least two years after the regulations have been issued in final form."

Stephen Barlas is a freelance business reporter who covers the Washington beat for 15 magazines.

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This article was originally published in the October 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Shelf-Help?.

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