Newswatch

Aldi has called off plans to open its first store in New York City, according to a spokeswoman for the discounter here. Aldi had expected to open in the borough of Queens by year-end, but plans for that location fell through and officials are looking at other sites in the city, spokeswoman Martha Swaney told SN last week. MARSH MUM ON REPORT OF SALE

ALDI PUTS BRAKES ON FIRST NYC SITE

BATAVIA, Ill. — Aldi has called off plans to open its first store in New York City, according to a spokeswoman for the discounter here. Aldi had expected to open in the borough of Queens by year-end, but plans for that location fell through and officials are looking at other sites in the city, spokeswoman Martha Swaney told SN last week.

MARSH MUM ON REPORT OF SALE

INDIANAPOLIS — A spokeswoman for Marsh Supermarkets here last week told SN it would not comment on local reports that the chain is up for sale. The Indianapolis Business Journal said the chain had retained William Blair & Co. to explore a sale in early 2010, but SN was unable to confirm the report. Sun Capital Partners, the investor which bought Marsh a little more than three years ago, referred questions back to the retailer. William Blair did not return a call for comment.

SALES UP 37.4% AT FRESH & EASY

CHESHUNT, England — Tesco here, corporate parent of the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain in California, Arizona and Nevada, said U.S. sales rose 37.4% at 126 stores during the 13-week third quarter that ended Nov. 28 (the company operated 102 stores at the end of the third quarter a year ago). The company does not cite specific dollar figures except at the end of the first half and the fiscal year. Tesco said Fresh & Easy's comparable-store sales strengthened during the quarter following the decision to expand the store assortments and the subsequent launch of a marketing program in September.

SUNFLOWER GETS $35M IN FINANCING

BOULDER, Colo. — Sunflower Farmers Market here last week said it had raised $35 million in new financing, including a $30 million, five-year loan package through Fifth Third Bank and a $5 million equity investment from an existing investor, Pacific Corporate Group. The company said it has opened seven new stores in four states in the past year, and increased sales by 50%. Sunflower, which currently operates 27 locations, projects 50 or more locations by 2013.

NEW YORK SEEKS FOOD-RELATED JOBS

NEW YORK — City officials here said they would develop a comprehensive plan to create additional food-related jobs in the city and improve infrastructure and support to keep food dollars in the local economy and improve health and the environment. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at an event last week introduced the “FoodWorks” initiative and said City Council would pass legislation requiring city agencies to report back on their food-related measures. This would help formulation of a comprehensive plan to be introduced in the spring, Quinn said.

WHOLE FOODS NIXES HAWAII FLAGSHIP

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Markets here has pulled out of a plan to build a flagship store in downtown Honolulu, citing delays in a developer's plan to complete the building, according to a report in the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper. The report said Whole Foods is seeking court approval to pull out of the Ward Centers project, which is being developed by General Growth Properties, the mall operator that is currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. General Growth was to have completed the project by Nov. 1, the report said.