RITE-AID IN TALKS TO PURCHASE 'A FEW DOZEN' RED APPLE UNITS

NEW YORK -- Rite-Aid Corp., a chain drug-store operator based in Camp Hill, Pa., said last week it expects to acquire "a few dozen" supermarket locations from Red Apple Co. here.Franklin Brown, general counsel for Rite-Aid, said the exact number of units Rite-Aid is buying is still under negotiation, but he said he expects the final deal to involve "a few dozen" stores.Red Apple operates 63 supermarkets

NEW YORK -- Rite-Aid Corp., a chain drug-store operator based in Camp Hill, Pa., said last week it expects to acquire "a few dozen" supermarket locations from Red Apple Co. here.

Franklin Brown, general counsel for Rite-Aid, said the exact number of units Rite-Aid is buying is still under negotiation, but he said he expects the final deal to involve "a few dozen" stores.

Red Apple operates 63 supermarkets under the Sloan's and Gristede's banners in the New York metropolitan area.

Wanda Patrick, public relations manager for Rite-Aid, said earlier last week 43 stores would be involved in the acquisition.

However, John Catsimatidis, chairman of Red Apple, told SN the 43 figure was too high. "I don't think that number is true," he said. "It's very substantially less." Catsimatidis said the number of units Red Apple expects to sell is still being negotiated.

He added that the units are being sold to comply with a Federal Trade Commission complaint. In an antitrust suit filed against Red Apple in June, FTC claimed Red Apple has too many units in some New York neighborhoods.

Red Apple, a privately held company, also is a major stockholder of Sloan's Supermarkets, a public company that operates 11 Sloan's units. None of the 11 stores operated by Sloan's are part of the deal with Rite-Aid, said Catsimatidis, who also is chairman of Sloan's.