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P.A. Attorney General OKs Giant Eagle's fuelperks! Discounts

PITTSBURGH -- The anti-trust division of the state Attorney General greenlighted Giant Eagle, based here, to continue rewarding shoppers by offering discounts on gasoline.

The supermarket chain's fuelperks! program, which rewards customers a 10-cent per gallon discounts for every $50 they spend in groceries, is tied into the chain's rapidly expanding GetGo convenience and fuel center subsidiary.

The attorney general's decision dealt a major setback to the Petroleum Retailers & Auto Repair Association (PRARA) in Pittsburgh, which filed the suit in March that contended the Giant Eagle violates the Unfair Sales Act, a 1941 state law that prohibits selling merchandise "at cost or less than cost in order to attract patronage."

In announcing the ruling, James A. Donahue, chief deputy attorney general, said: "There is no evidence that Giant Eagle is doing anything wrong, and we don't think Giant Eagle's program is unlawful."

Decrying the decision as a setback for consumers, the PRARA said the supermarket chain's fuelperks! program will lessen competition by forcing more gasoline stations to close, which will in turn lead to higher fuel prices. In published reports, the group said it has not determined whether it will appeal the decision, or file a lawsuit seeking to overturn it.
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