News Watch

FRESH MARKET SEEKING NORTHEAST STORE SITES The Fresh Market, the Greensboro, N.C.-based small-box, fresh-food retailer, is seeking sites throughout the New York metro area, James Dewey, real estate manager for The Fresh Market, said in a presentation last week. Speaking to leasing professionals and landlords at the ICSC Next Generation conference, Dewey said the chain was pursuing

FRESH MARKET SEEKING NORTHEAST STORE SITES

TEANECK, N.J. — The Fresh Market, the Greensboro, N.C.-based small-box, fresh-food retailer, is seeking sites throughout the New York metro area, James Dewey, real estate manager for The Fresh Market, said in a presentation here last week. Speaking to leasing professionals and landlords at the ICSC Next Generation conference, Dewey said the chain was pursuing sites of around 20,000 square feet, primarily in upscale neighborhoods throughout New Jersey and in Long Island, N.Y., and communities north of New York City. The Fresh Market, with 70 stores throughout the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, currently operates no locations in New Jersey or New York but intends to grow its overall store base by 20% annually, Dewey said.

ACTIVIST INVESTOR REVEALS STAKE IN TARGET STORES

MINNEAPOLIS — Activist investor William Ackman last week disclosed a 9.6% ownership stake in Target Corp. here and said that while he intends to discuss the “undervalued” stock with the retailer, he also pledges to earmark one-third of any profits the investment makes to a charitable foundation associated with his Pershing Square Capital Management firm. Pershing Square spent nearly $2 billion buying stock and stock options of Target, the firm said in documents filed last week.

JUDGE RULES AGAINST COUNTY'S ‘FAIR SHARE’ LAW

NEW YORK — A federal judge here last week threw out a “fair share” health care law passed last year by Suffolk County, N.Y., that required certain large retailers to provide a minimum level of health insurance for their workers. Judge Arthur D. Spatt ruled that the Suffolk County law, which dictated that large food retailers pay the county a fee if their employees did not receive a minimum amount of health care coverage from the company, was superseded by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known as ERISA. The Suffolk law had been challenged by the Retail Industry Leaders Association. This marks the second defeat for such laws, after Maryland's Fair Share Health Care Act was also ruled by a federal judge to violate ERISA. Several other states and municipalities have similar legislation pending.

CARREFOUR TO BUY SPANISH CHAIN FROM TENGELMANN

PARIS — Carrefour Group here last week said it had entered into an agreement to purchase 250 Plus stores operating in Spain from Tengelmann Group for about $276 million. The stores, which will be added to Carrefour's Dia Spain group, recorded net sales of $603 million for the 12-month period ending in April, Carrefour said. Included in the portfolio are 58 new store projects, the retailer added.

SAINSBURY ACKNOWLEDGES NEW TAKEOVER INTEREST

LONDON — J. Sainsbury here last week confirmed reports that it had received preliminary interest from a Qatar-based investor to purchase shares it does not already own in the retailer. The overtures come shortly after Sainsbury rejected takeover advances from a private equity consortium, saying their preliminary offers undervalued the company. Delta Two, the Qatar-based investor, in a statement last week said it had “high regard for the board, management and employees of Sainsbury and is supportive of the company's operational strategy.”