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.