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CIT Provides Financing to Wakefern Food Corp.

October 09, 2014, 07:27 AM
Filed Under: Retail

CIT Group Inc. provided financing to Wakefern Food Corp., the largest supermarket cooperative in the United States. Wakefern is the principal supplier of food and non-food products to member-owned supermarkets that trade under the ShopRite and PriceRite banners. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Wakefern also directly operates 83 supermarkets under the ShopRite and PriceRite banners. Proceeds of the facility will be used to finance new equipment and grocery store upgrades. Financing was provided by CIT Bank, the U.S. commercial bank subsidiary of CIT. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We’re pleased we could leverage our middle-market and supermarket industry expertise to provide this financing to Wakefern,” said Burt Feinberg, President of CIT Corporate Finance, Commercial & Industrial. “The company delivers consistent revenue growth. We look to further build on our already long standing relationship as they continue to invest in their ShopRite and PriceRite locations while enhancing the services they offer to their members.”

Kevin Ronan, Director, CIT Capital Equipment Finance, said, “Wakefern is a strong company that, even during the downturn, was able to show revenue increases. Its members have the cooperative benefit of the company’s $11 billion in purchasing power and retail support services providing members with the unique ability to compete with the larger chains. We’re pleased we could support the largest supermarket cooperative in the U.S. through this financing.”

Doug Wille, Chief Financial Officer of Wakefern, said, “CIT worked closely with us to develop a customized financial solution that will help us pursue our growth objectives. Having recently welcomed the forty-ninth member to our cooperative, we’re excited to deploy this financing to continue to help the independent retailers who make up our membership-base prosper in a competitive sector and deliver an outstanding shopping experience to customers at our ShopRite and PriceRite stores.”

From a small, struggling cooperative with eight members – all owners of their own grocery stores – Wakefern Food Corp. has grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Founded in 1946, the cooperative comprises 50 members who today individually own and operate more than 250 supermarkets under the ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. In 1996, Wakefern introduced PriceRite stores, extending the company’s reach into Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia. In 2014, Wakefern granted rights to cooperative members to open stores under the PriceRite banner. Today, there are more than 50 PriceRite stores in eight states.

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