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    Kmart to Keep Pressure on Fuel Prices

    Discount retailer's Express gas stations target traditional convenience store fuel consumers.

    Kmart Corp. intends to keep fuel prices as low as possible at the 21 Kmart Express gas stations across the country, the company's chief executive said. The units, located in the discount chain's parking lots in eight states, target traditional convenience store and petroleum industry customers.

    The announcement comes at a time when the convenience store and petroleum industry is disputing allegations of price gouging in several states, including Michigan and Illinois. Official in the two sates allege that retailers purposely raised prices to capitalize on consumers' fears of a fuel shortage following the terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and the nation's capital.

    "Kmart is committed to keeping gas prices affordable for the American people," said Kmart chairman and CEO Chuck Conaway. "At this uncertain time, Kmart will make every effort to keep down costs to the consumer. Any additional price rate increases that may occur will be a direct result of our suppliers, not Kmart."

    The discount merchandiser, which has more than 2,100 Kmart and Kmart Supercenter stores throughout the United States, has fuel operations in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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