Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fairway goes public, planning for steady expansion

Whole Foods rival Fairway went public last month and the 12-store grocery chain aims to open 300 stores across the country. The stores, located in New York City and the surrounding areas and known for its specialty foods, began as a family business in the 1930s as a fruit and vegetable stand. The founder's grandson, Howard Glickberg, is vice chairman of development and still owns a small stake in the company. Sterling Investment Partners is the majority owner, having acquired an 80 percent stake in 2007.

The company's initial public offering raised $177.5 million, valuing the entire company at $536.1 million, according to reports.

Expansion is set to take place at a rate of three to four stores per year. Whole Foods has been aggressive in the same market and now has seven stores in New York City alone.

Fairway lost $11.9 million in the fiscal year ending in April 2012 on sales that increased 14 percent to $554.9 million, and at that time the company had debt in excess of $200 million.

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