Another iconic New York retailer is reportedly on the selling block.
Citing confidential sources, Bloomberg this week said Fairway Market’s sponsors have solicited offers to buy the company, and that their efforts had drawn interest from both strategic and financial buyers.
A sale of Fairway, which operates 15 high-volume grocery stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, would represent the second sale of a New York destination grocer this year. Sources confirmed to WGB earlier this summer that Gourmet Garage, a Manhattan-based specialty supermarket, had been sold to ShopRite operator Village Super Market, although Village has not yet publicly confirmed that deal.
A Fairway spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.
While brands such as Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and FreshDirect have expanded in New York in recent years, grocers including A&P and Food Emporium, D’Agostino’s, Gristedes, Balducci’s and Dean & DeLuca have retrenched or departed.
Fairway went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure three years ago, after which it wound up in the hands of its lenders, led by Brigade Capital Management. It has been led by veteran supermarket executive Abel Porter since 2017, who sources say has stabilized same-store sales declines while improving service and offerings, despite ongoing capital restraints and poor credit.
Fairway has sales approaching $700 million, according to sources.
“Abel Porter has done a great job and the company is hitting on all cylinders,” Burt P. Flickinger III, managing partner of Strategic Resource Group, told WGB in an interview. “Its stores in New Jersey and Long Island have found their footing, they’re quite well with Instacart, and service has improved.”
Fairway has also expanded its foodservice offering, opening cafes known as Sur La Route at two stores and launching a cooking school at its Upper East Side location in Manhattan. The chain held a job fair for a planned third location of Sur La Route this week.
Flickinger noted, however, the time could be right to sell given its momentum. He speculated that ShopRite might also be interested in its stores, given Village’s interest in Gourmet Garage. Village wasn't immediately available for comment.