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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Wal-Mart has persuaded the Coca-Cola Co. to make at least one change in its traditional direct store delivery (DSD) procedures – a change that has at least some people questioning the extent to which Wal-Mart is exercising its considerable clout.

The case in point has to do with Coke’s PowerAde drink, which Coke’s bottlers will be delivering to Wal-Mart warehouses, and then distributed to the retailer’s individual stores by the retailer’s trucks. The Journal-Constitution does note that concerns about the shift could be much ado about nothing, since GatorAde – which dominates the category and is made by Coke’s arch rival Pepsi – already is delivered to Wal-Mart’s warehouses instead of through the DSD system.

However, there is another bit of news that is of interest when it comes to the relationship between Coke and Wal-Mart. The Journal-Constitution also reports that last year Coke planned to introduce a single new diet soft drink – Coke Zero, sweetened with Splenda. But at Wal-Mart’s urging, Coke also launched a version of Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda.
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