FURR'S SEEKS FTC APPROVAL WAIVER

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Furr's Supermarkets, Albuquerque, N.M., has asked the Federal Trade Commission here to release it from restrictions requiring it to secure agency approval before buying any of the 57 stores it currently leases in New Mexico and Texas and then reselling them under a lease-back arrangement.The restrictions, Furr's said, are hampering the company's ability to raise capital to sufficiently

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Furr's Supermarkets, Albuquerque, N.M., has asked the Federal Trade Commission here to release it from restrictions requiring it to secure agency approval before buying any of the 57 stores it currently leases in New Mexico and Texas and then reselling them under a lease-back arrangement.

The restrictions, Furr's said, are hampering the company's ability to raise capital to sufficiently upgrade its stores and expand by 15 to 23 stores through 1999. The 74-store chain is bound to the restrictions under a 1987 settlement with FTC over the operator's acquisition of the El Paso, Texas, division of Safeway, Oakland, Calif. FTC set the restrictions after determining that the deal would reduce competition in 12 towns in Texas and New Mexico.

Furr's argued that the intent of the settlement was only to prevent the company from buying new supermarket properties from competitors without FTC approval -- not to restrict Furr's from buying, then enacting sale/leasebacks, on locations where it is currently operating.

FTC does not comment on pending cases.