Saturday, February 18, 2006

Westfield to Acquire 15 Federated Stores

Deal Includes Wheaton Plaza Hecht's

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - Mall developer Westfield Group has made a deal with Federated Department Stores Inc. to acquire 15 stores in Westfield shopping centers, including the Hecht's at Wheaton Plaza, company officials said yesterday.

Westfield said that it has not decided what to do with the retail space but that it is in talks with Nordstrom Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Target Corp., along with movie operators and restaurants.

Federated is divesting 78 stores in malls where it competes with chains formerly owned by May Department Stores Co., which it acquired in a merger last year. Federated plans to convert remaining stores into its Macy's and Bloomingdale's by September. May had owned regional names such as Hecht's and Marshall Field's in Chicago.

A total of 12 malls in California are included in the deal, along with one in Connecticut and one in Ohio. The agreement includes a swap: Westfield will take over a dozen stores owned by Federated, while the department store chain in turn will acquire 12 locations that it currently rents from Westfield. Three stores will be sold to Westfield for $18.5 million in cash.

Federated had previously announced the sale of 10 stores in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to mid-priced retailer Boscov's Inc.

Under an antitrust agreement between Cincinnati-based Federated and the attorneys general of five states -- Maryland, Massachusetts, California, New York and Pennsylvania -- Federated must sell its stores to competitors if they make a qualified minimum bid.

Maryland Assistant Attorney General John Tennis said Federated received several offers for its Wheaton store, but none met the required minimum. That freed the company to strike the deal with Westfield.


  1. I've been to the Westfield mall in Wilmington a few times, but that's all.

  2. Westfield is a good operator. Luckily no Hecht's stores in North Carolina will close during the Macy's conversion.

  3. Westfield has been very aggressive in remodeling its malls in Southern California. It makes a lot of sense for the company to buy Federated's real estate at 12 malls here. Westfield gets to decide what should replace the shuttered stores.

    I suspect that the company won't try to bring in new large anchors; it will either break the buildings up into smaller spaces or demolish them altogether for new "hy-style" components. Westfield already announced it planned to demolish the Robinsons-May at Fox Hills in order to construct a new outdoor "lifestyle" wing.

  4. With the dwindling pool of department stores and the high demand for more of an "experience" at most malls, Westfield's plan is the highest and best use for the old Robinsons-May and Macy's stores being purchased.

    I have yet to see Westfield's Hy-Style in person, but I'm sure it's really cool.