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• Alimentation Couche-Tard announced that its Mac's Convenience Stores subsidiary has signed an agreement to acquire 28 stores in northwest Ohio from Sterling Stores.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to be completed in May 2007, at which point the units will be converted to the Circle K banner.

USA Today reports that bread is making a comeback after the low-carb fad that swept the country and had so many people consuming beef, cheese and cream in an effort to drop pounds. One illustration: “Sales of artisanal bread nationwide have increased an average of 4% a year the past three years and represent 13% of the bread market,” the paper reports.

• The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Coca-Cola plans to debut Diet Coke Plus - a sparkling, calorie-free beverage with vitamins and minerals – next month.

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Sara Lee and Kraft Foods “are using their existing brands to enter an entirely new product category for each: prepared salads.

“Sara Lee, operating on the premise that meat makes a meal, is launching a national ‘Go Meat!’ ad campaign today featuring its new Hillshire Farm Salad Entrees, kits that contain meat and other ingredients for making a salad, except lettuce.

“Kraft's Fresh Creations salads, which include lettuce along with Oscar Mayer meat, Planters nuts and Kraft cheese and salad dressing, are being tested in Boston and Denver, where ads tout them as alternatives to restaurant salads. Kraft also has been rolling out new chicken-salad kits, without lettuce, under its South Beach Diet brand in stores nationwide this month.”
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