NEWS WATCH

Waban, Natick, Mass., last week said it plans to spin off BJ's Wholesale Club, a 79-unit warehouse club chain, into a publicly traded subsidiary. The move, a tax-free distribution of all outstanding common stock, is expected to be completed in the spring of 1997. Waban then would adopt the name of its home-improvement chain, HomeBase, and focus solely on that business, the company reported.ing fire,

Waban, Natick, Mass., last week said it plans to spin off BJ's Wholesale Club, a 79-unit warehouse club chain, into a publicly traded subsidiary. The move, a tax-free distribution of all outstanding common stock, is expected to be completed in the spring of 1997. Waban then would adopt the name of its home-improvement chain, HomeBase, and focus solely on that business, the company reported.

ing fire, forcing everyone to move quickly to another location.

Target Stores, Minneapolis, plans to open at least four supercenters in and around Kansas City over the next two years, including locations in Olanthe, Overland and Shawnee, Kan., and Independence, Mo., according to published reports. It now operates eight Super Targets. The Dayton Hudson chain also reportedly is testing a 1,500-square-foot grocery department, called The Market, at three discount stores.

Giant Food, Landover, Md., last week opened a Super G supermarket in Cherry Hill, N.J., its second unit in the Philadelphia-area community. The 63,000-square-foot store is Giant's eighth location in the Delaware Valley, which the 170-unit, Washington-area chain has targeted as an expansion market. It now has five stores in New Jersey, two in Delaware and one in Pennsylvania.

New York City's Planning Commission last week approved a proposal by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to permit rezoning of idle manufacturing areas for development of big-box stores, published reports said. The City Council must approve or reject the measure within 65 days. The proposal reportedly would allow up to 57 superstores -- primarily expected to be food and apparel retailers -- of up to 200,000 square feet, some requiring special permits.

Wild Oats Markets, Boulder, Colo., raised $42 million last week in an initial public offering of 1.68 million shares, at $25 a share. The company said the money will be used to repay debt, open new stores and fund possible acquisitions. In July, Wild Oats acquired Alfalfa's, Boulder, to form a 39-unit natural-food store chain in seven states and British Columbia, with about $250 million in sales.

Performance Food Group Co.,

Richmond, Va., last week agreed to buy McLane Foodservice -- a division of McLane Co. Inc., a Temple, Texas-based wholesale subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark. -- for $30 million, published reports said. The deal is slated to close by the end of the year.