FINANCE

Wal-Mart cooperating with Japanese investigation on trading probe

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Wal-Mart Stores said it is cooperating with an investigation by Japanese authorities amid reports of a probe into insider trading related to its takeover three years ago of Tokyo-based retailer Seiyu Ltd.

Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is investigating whether Seiyu employees carried out stock transactions with knowledge of the deal before it was announced, Kyodo News agency and other Japanese media reported.

A former Seiyu director is believed to have made about 10 million yen ($124,000) on stock dealings, according to Kyodo.

“We do not believe any current Seiyu associates were involved, Kevin Gardner, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an email statement, according to Bloomberg. “We have fully cooperated with the authorities for their investigation and will continue to do so.”

Wal-Mart entered the Japan market in 2002, then gradually raised its stake in Seiyu. It had a 50.9% share when it announced the full takeover in 2007.

The day after the announcement, in which Wal-Mart said it would pay 140 yen per share, Seiyu’s stock price rose from 87 yen to 117 yen, according to Kyodo. Seiyu was suffering deep losses at the time.

 

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REAL ESTATE

Chipotle to open new concept

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Chipotle Mexican Grill founder, chairman and co-CEO Steve Ells is developing an Asian fast-casual concept that he expects to debut in mid-2011, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

The new concept will be similar in pricing to Chipotle, the report said.

Ells said in a statement, “Since opening the first Chipotle some 17 years ago, I have often thought about how other types of food might fit the Chipotle model.”

“Chipotle is not successful because we serve burritos and tacos,” he added. “Our success comes from finding the very best sustainably raised ingredients, prepared and cooked using classical methods in front of the customer, and served in an interactive format by special people dedicated to providing a great dining experience. And while our Chipotle restaurants will, of course, remain our primary focus, we are also excited to see how this format works with other cuisines.”

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REAL ESTATE

Target to open in downtown Los Angeles

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Target Corp. will open a store in downtown Los Angeles, at the 7+Fig shopping center, which has been without an anchor tenant since Macy’s left early last year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Expected to open in 2012, the store will be located in a combined space on one floor formerly occupied by Macy’s and Bullock’s department stores. It will carry a different merchandise mix, with a heavy emphasis on food and household basics, according to the newspaper.

"It’s really about trying to magnify the relationship that we have had with those urban central core guests," said John Griffith, executive VP property development at Target, in the report. "We believe that as we offer them an alternative that is immediately adjacent to where they work, where they live, that we can increase the depth of that relationship."

Target’s agreement to rent more than 100,000 square feet at the corner of 7th and Figueroa streets is one of the largest retail leases in decades downtown, the newspaper reported.

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