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Safeway Settles "fuelperks!" Lawsuit

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway Inc. parent of Tom Thumb convenience stores settled a lawsuit with Irving-based Excentus Corp., which challenged the supermarket chain's gas pump program as encroaching on its proprietary technology, according to

The two companies signed a licensing agreement that ends the legal disagreement, which "opens up the opportunity to work together on what is best for their customers going forward," Excentus Chief Executive Dickson Perry said in the report.

Privately held Excentus operates the "fuelperks!" reward programs with gasoline marketers Sunoco, BP and Shell and retail chains including Brookshire's, Winn Dixie and Publix, reported.

"We are pleased to put this litigation behind us," said Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling. "We respect the breadth of the Excentus intellectual property portfolio and look forward to exploring ways to work together on fuel rewards."

Additionally, Tom Thumb and Randalls stores in Texas are ending an airlines rewards program on Feb. 28, and its Web site said customers prefer the lower price initiative started last fall offering cents off of gasoline over programs that award points for flights on American Airlines and Continental Airlines. Shoppers earn 250 airline points for every $250 in grocery purchases, the report stated.

"Given the current economic climate, the message from customers was lower prices," Dowling said in the report. "To respond to that feedback, we decided to refocus the value previously offered through our airline partnerships into lower prices on items that all of our customers need."

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