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  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- Does an office perk count as a benefit if you pay for it yourself? Apparently so, because an increasing number of companies are using so-called voluntary benefits to bulk up workplace offerings.

  • SALT LAKE CITY-- Utah's September foreclosure rate remains the 16th highest in the nation for a second month. Data released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc. shows that one in every 903 Utah housing units saw a foreclosure filing in September. Florida, California, Illinois, Arizona and Nevada had the highest foreclosure rates in the nation in August.

  • Yongda Huang Harris, 28, was taken into custody at Los Angeles International Airport last week during a stopover on a trip from Japan, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed he was wearing the bulletproof vest under his trench coat, along with flame-retardant pants and knee pads.

  • A report released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.- based RealtyTrac shows Illinois with 42,176 foreclosure filings from July through September. On a monthly basis, Illinois foreclosures dropped 20 percent in September compared to August. Arizona and California also have foreclosure rates higher than Illinois.

  • THE BOTTOM LINE: Safeway Inc. said its net income rose 21 percent in the third quarter, boosted by the sale of its Genuardi's stores.

  • Oct 11- Safeway Inc, the second-largest U.S. supermarket chain, reported quarterly sales that missed Wall Street's view, and its shares fell nearly 5 percent. Traditional grocers like Safeway and Kroger Co are fighting for every sale amid tough competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc and other retailers.

  • LAS VEGAS-- Nevada's foreclosure rate remains fifth in the nation after big drops in activity compared with last year. RealtyTrac reports Thursday that Nevada's September foreclosure rate is down 19 percent from August and down more than 75 percent from the same time last year. That rate fell behind Florida, California, Illinois and Arizona.

  • Mississippi: Down 3,393, no reason given. Michigan: Down 2,639, no reason given. Florida: Down 1,972, due to fewer layoffs in agriculture, construction, and wholesale trade.

  • NEW YORK-- Safeway Inc. said Thursday that its profit margin slipped in the third quarter as it spent money on launching a new customer loyalty program, an investment the supermarket operator said should drive sales going forward. The sale of Safeway's Genuardi's chain helped offset the declines and pushed the company's net income up 21 percent.

  • PLEASANTON, Calif.-- Heart device maker Thoratec on Thursday said it promoted Taylor C. Harris to chief financial officer. Thoratec, based in Pleasanton, Calif., makes HeartMate pumps, which are used in patients who are waiting for a heart transplant or for those who are too sick to have heart transplant surgery.

  • NEW YORK-- Safeway Inc. says its net income rose 21 percent in the third quarter as it benefited from the sale of its Genuardi's stores. The Pleasanton, Calif.- based company, which also operates Vons, Dominick's and other grocery chains, says it earned $157 million, or 66 cents per share, in the period. That compares with $130.2 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago.

  • Oct 11- Supermarket operator Safeway Inc posted a lower quarterly profit from continuing operations on Thursday amid rising competition from other grocery sellers, while net profit increased, helped by the sale of some stores.

  • SAN DIEGO-- City officials say a San Diego judge ordered Rite Aid Corp. and its California subsidiary Thrifty PayLess Inc. to pay $800,000 to settle a complaint alleging false advertising.

  • Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. has raised about $70.4 million in its initial public offering of 4.4 million shares. The Calabasas, Calif., company, which is developing an injectable treatment for double chins, priced its IPO at $16 per share, or the top end of its estimated range.

  • NEW YORK-- Williams-Sonoma's potential for international expansion could position the company for solid sales growth in the near and long term, William Blair as it raised its rating on the upscale home goods company.

  • DALLAS-- A federal judge in Texas has sentenced a man to 23 years in prison and ordered him to pay $13 million in restitution over an investment scam he ran out of his home in California. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that 37- year-old Bradley Stark, formerly of Riverside, Calif., was sentenced on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

  • *IRS taking' hard line' on accounting issue-lawyer. The dispute centers on an accounting practice- known as the "completed contract method"- that the IRS has scrutinized for years.

  • CAMPBELL, Calif.-- Online real estate company Move Inc. has purchased Relocation.com for $11.5 million in cash in order to strengthen its offerings and moving services. Move Inc. shares closed at $8.37 per share on Wednesday. Its shares are down 17 percent from their 52- week high of $10.06 set on March 26.

  • *Research house IDC still ranks HP in the lead* Lenovo shares rise nearly 2 pct in Hong Kong trade* HP stock touches lowest level since October By Poornima Gupta and Lee Chyen Yee.

  • Oct 11- Stan Lee Media, a company that says it controls the rights to Marvel characters including Spider Man and Iron Man, has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Colorado against the Walt Disney Co seeking "billions of dollars of profits." Disney acquired Marvel Enterprises, which had been renamed Marvel Entertainment, in 2009 for $4.3 billion.