STORE SPACES

First-ever state-licensed marijuana stores to open Jan. 1, in Colorado

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Colorado will become the first state in the country to open recreational pot retail stores when, on Jan. 1, 2014, it begins allowing the sale of cannabis to anyone age 21 or over.

The move comes after voters in Colorado approved the measure in the November 2012 elections. The state of Washington also legalized recreational marijuana at the same time, but that state won’t open marijuana stores until later in 2014.

Cannabis will be legally sold and taxed in Colorado at specially regulated retailers in a system similar to what many states have in place for alcohol sales. In a big difference, however, purchases will be limited to an ounce of marijuana at a time. Purchases from out-of-state individuals are limited to a quarter-ounce.

Retail marijuana will have a 25% state tax — plus the usual state sales tax of 2.9% — making recreational pot one of the most heavily taxed consumer products in Colorado, according to CNN. Some communities are adding even more taxes to the product.

Only about eight are expected to be ready to open on Jan. 1, with the majority in Denver. And there are concerns that supplies will be sold out on the first day, the report said, with so few stores having passed the lengthy licensing process so far.

Colorado has issued a total of 348 recreational pot licenses to businesses statewide, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, Reuters reported. Of those, 136 are for retail stores, 178 for cultivation operations, 31 for manufacturing of infused edibles and other sundries, and three are for testing facilities.

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FINANCE

Report: Whole Foods Market to acquire six Dominick’s locations

BY Michael Johnsen

Chicago — Whole Foods has recently acquired six Dominick’s stores, the Sun-Times reported, citing real estate sources. And Jewel may buy as many as 16 Dominick’s locations.

The news comes as suitors for the remainder of Safeway’s Dominick’s stores in Chicago, which are now shuttering their doors, are beginning to come forward, according to a report published Saturday in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Regional operator Pete’s Fresh Market has been looking at as many as four locations, and will likely announce its intentions by Jan. 20, the Sun-Times reported.

The purchase of as many as 10 Dominick’s stores may be under consideration by independent grocery chains affiliated with the Centrella cooperative, Crain’s Chicago Business reported earlier this month, citing sources close to the deal.

Safeway announced in October its intended exit from the Chicago market altogether, where it at one time operated 72 Dominick’s stores, by early 2014. Now approximately 55 remain.

Four stores were sold to New Albertsons in October. In early December, Safeway announced it had reached a definitive agreement to sell 11 of its Dominick’s stores in the Chicago metropolitan area in a cash and lease assumption transaction to Roundy’s. Roundy’s will take possession of the stores during a transition period that will take place over the next two months.

And at least two Dominick’s stores have expiring leases, according to the Crain report.

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FINANCE

Roark Capital closes acquisition of CKE Restaurants

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — An affiliate of Roark Capital Group has acquired a majority stake in CKE Restaurants Inc., owner of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and various other quick-serve restaurant chains.

We are pleased to welcome CKE’s brands to our restaurant family," said Neal Aronson, Roark’s managing partner. "Led by CEO Andy Puzder, CKE is a well-run business with an excellent management team and passionate franchisees. We look forward to working with Andy and the team as they build on their success and continue to execute their strategic vision for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s."

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

CKE’s properties include 3413 restaurants in 42 states and 30 foreign countries and U.S. territories.

Roark Capital’s portfolio includes such restaurant brands as Arby’s, Cinnabon, Corner Bakery Café and Moe’s Southwestern Grill, as well as the Atkins Nutritionals brand.

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