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Bloomberg reports that Ahold-owned Stop & Shop is being sued by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which charges that the recent hiring of its former vp-operations, Frank Vitale, was in violation of an 18-month non-compete clause that Vitale had as part of his contract.

According to the story, A&P “accuses Vitale of disclosing trade secrets and ‘key elements’ of its restructuring strategy to its rival (and) seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages from Stop & Shop.”

KPSP-TV reports that “the California State Parks system announced Monday it is partnering again with Stater Bros. Supermarkets and Coca-Cola Refreshments. This public private partnership unites for the third straight year to raise funds for state parks in Southern California.

“This year's program, ‘Preserve Our Parks,’ is an intensive, six-week campaign with the goal of raising at least $750,000 to help provide forest preservation, trail maintenance, habitat preservation and beach clean-up across 750,000 acres of parklands that comprise the state park system in Southern California, alone. All monies raised during the campaign will be donated to California State Park Foundation.”

• Stater Bros. shoppers, for example, are encouraged to make a one dollar donation at the chain’s checkouts between now and April 26.

• The Seguin Gazette Enterprise reports that “Super S Foods, which had one store in Guadalupe County and several in adjacent counties, has been purchased by Pay and Save Inc., doing business as Lowe's, with stores located primarily in West Texas and the Panhandle.

“Super S operated more than 50 stores, mostly in Central and South Texas and mostly in small towns ... With the acquisition of the Super S chain, Lowe's has 145 stores, most of them in Texas along with several in New Mexico and one in Arizona. The acquisition of Super S became final on March 23.”

Reuters reports that PepsiCo plans to offer a mid-calorie soft drink this summer called Pepsi Next, which will have 40 calories per eight-ounce servings. While such drinks have generally not been successful in the past, the story reports that “industry watchers say that the market may be ripe for these types of drinks now, as people try to treat themselves to little indulgences without blowing their diets.”
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