NEW YORK -- Red Apple Cos. here plans to divest six stores to other supermarket operators to satisfy a Federal Trade Commission complaint and to sell 15 to 20 smaller stores to Rite-Aid Corp. to consolidate its operations, John Catsimatidis, chairman, said last week. Rite-Aid, a drug store operator based in Camp Hill, Pa., purchased two stores from Red Apple last fall. Catsimatidis said he expects to sell the 15 to 20 stores to Rite-Aid within six to nine months and to divest the six stores in the next 12 months. Once the stores have been sold or divested, observers told SN, they expect Catsimatidis to fold the remaining stores, all of which are privately held, into the publicly held Sloan's Supermarkets operation. Catsimatidis declined to comment on those reports. According to Catsimatidis, eliminating stores through divestiture and sales will enable Red Apple to settle its problems with the FTC, eliminate duplication and get rid of stores of less than 5,000 square feet, "which will enhance the balance of our operations." The FTC complaint alleged that Catsimatidis' acquisition of 32 Sloan's stores in Manhattan between 1991 and 1993 violated federal antitrust laws by lessening competition in four neighborhoods.