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Retailer: Rival CEO posed as exec to get secrets

Friday - 2/28/2014, 10:40pm  ET

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The competition between Dick's Sporting Goods and Modell's Sporting Goods is heading for the courts.

Dick's has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey claiming that the CEO of Modell's posed as a Dick's executive in an effort to get confidential information. The Pittsburgh-based company alleges Mitchell Modell showed up at its store in Princeton in February saying he was a Dick's senior vice president there to meet the Dick's CEO. The suit claims Modell persuaded workers to show him the backroom of the store and to answer questions about online sales, including a "ship from store" program that gets products to customers' doors quickly.

Retail experts say rival companies spy on each other all the time, but it's rare that a CEO would actually get caught doing it himself.

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APPHOTO NY123: In this July 14, 2013 photo, Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Mitchell Modell attends ACES All Stars 2013 Celebrate with Grey Goose Vodka, at Marquee in New York. Modell, who once appeared on the TV show "Undercover Boss," pretended to be an executive from rival company Dick's Sporting Goods in an effort to get confidential information, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 20, 2014. (Photo by Jason Decrow/Invision for ACES, Inc/AP Images) (14 Jul 2013)

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