FINANCE

Wet Seal urges shareholders not to support activist’s plans to replace directors

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Foothill Ranch, Calif. — On the heels of activist investor The Clinton Group’s announced plans to replace some of Wet Seal’s board members, the retailer is advising its shareholders against supporting the move.

On Friday, Clinton Group revealed in an SEC filing that it planned to nominate a slate of new Wet Seal board members including Raphael Benaroya, Dorrit Bern, Mindy Meads and John Mills. Benaroya is the former chairman of FAO Schwartz, Bern is the former CEO of Charming Shoppes, Meads is the former president and co-CEO of Aeropostale and Mills is the former president and COO of Aeropostale.

The investor has made no secret of its dissatisfaction with Wet Seal’s performance and has urged the company to put itself up for sale.

On Monday, Wet Seal sent a letter to shareholders revealing that Clinton Group has rejected its proposal to allow two additional directors that were nominated by Clinton Group join Wet Seal’s board and let someone from Clinton Group help with the retailer’s search for a CEO.

Wet Seal fired CEO Susan McGalla in July without naming a replacement. The retailer says it is working with recruiter Korn/Ferry International to find a replacement CEO and expects to fill the post soon.

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FINANCE

Fairway Market files plans to take company public

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Fairway Group Holdings Corp., a chain of natural and organic grocery stores, filed paperwork Monday to take the company public.

Fairway has 11 stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is 80% owned by Sterling Investment Partners, who will still control the business following the proposed IPO, said the company.

Fairway said in the filing that its revenue has grown steadily over the past few years but has experienced losses in fiscal 2010, 2011 and 2012 due to added expenses from opening stores. It said it expects to continue to post losses through at least fiscal 2014.

Fairway said it intends to add three to four stores annually for the next several years in greater New York City.

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REAL ESTATE

CBRE launches global green research challenge

BY Staff Writer

Los Angeles — CBRE Group on Tuesday announced the launch of the Real Green Research Challenge, a four-year, $1 million commitment to fund leading-edge sustainability research and innovation relating to commercial real estate.

CBRE said it is accepting submissions for research proposals, with the goal of developing solutions to the industry’s critical environmental challenges.

“We’ve seen growing market awareness of commercial buildings’ impact on the environment,” said Bob Sulentic, president, CBRE. “This has inspired new thinking and innovation in sustainability research. However, people with good ideas often lack financial support and access to real-time market data and insight into building construction, occupancy and management that only a global firm like CBRE can provide. Our RGRC program will help to unleash innovation by connecting ideas with funding and with CBRE’s unparalleled information and people resources.”

Over the next four years, CBRE will award up to $1 million to fund independent academic research into sustainable real estate practices. Selected applicants will receive up to $250,000 for basic research and implementation, with initial funding in February 2013. In addition to monetary funds, RGRC-funded projects will have access to CBRE’s global market data and resources, which can help them to commercialize their ideas.

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