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Fairway grocery chain resets IPO, at $164M

There are two Fairway Market locations on Long

There are two Fairway Market locations on Long Island -- this one in Plainview and another in Westbury. Credit: Barry Sloan, 2012

Fairway, the iconic New York grocery store chain whose initial public offering was disrupted by superstorm Sandy, said Thursday it is ready to go public in hopes of raising up to $164 million.

Fairway Group Holdings Corp. said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it expects its stock to price in the range of $10 to $12 per share. The company is selling 13.4 million shares and stockholders are selling another 286,436.

Fairway operates 12 locations in the metropolitan area and expects to open another one this summer in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood and one in upstate Nanuet in the fall. There are two locations on Long Island: Plainview and Westbury.

The company got its start in the 1930s as a small neighborhood market. In 2007 Sterling Investment Partners bought an 80 percent stake in the company, spurring fast growth in the ensuing years. The investment firm will continue to control the company after the IPO.

Fairway specializes in offering a broad selection of groceries and natural and organic goods and gourmet products, as well as conventional grocery items such as laundry detergent and toilet paper. Because of this, Fairway says, it can reach a broader range of customers than specialty markets or discount chains.

The company had revenue of $554.9 million in the fiscal year ended April 1, 2012, up 14 percent from $485.7 million a year earlier. It booked a loss of $36.7 million last year, and a loss of $39 million a year earlier, due to the cost of opening new stores.

Fairway said it will use the proceeds from the IPO to open new stores and for other general business purposes. -- AP

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