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The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. and Pathmark Stores, Inc. reached a $1.3 billion definitive merger agreement in which A&P will acquire Pathmark. The deal will result in a 550-unit, $11 billion supermarket chain operating in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington DC, Michigan and Louisiana. Subject to shareholder approval, the transaction is scheduled to close in the second half of 2007.

Federated Department Stores, Inc. will ask shareholders to allow a name change to Macy's Group, Inc., to more accurately reflect the changes in its business. A vote to amend the corporation's charter to accommodate the new name will be conducted on May 18, 2007.

Abercrombie & Fitch opened its first store outside North America on London's Savile Row. The store is 50 percent larger than its typical U.S. locations and is expected to mark the beginning of the chain's expansion into Europe and Asia. Abercrombie & Fitch expects to generate sales of $2,500 per square foot in London, compared with $400 per square foot it currently generates at home.

Circuit City Stores, Inc. executive vice president and CFO Michael E. Foss will leave the company in April to join a private equity-owned retail firm. Foss will remain on the company's board of directors until its annual meeting in June. Circuit City has begun a search for his replacement.

Applebee's International, Inc. will close 24 of its 528 company-owned restaurants. The decision comes after a comprehensive evaluation of the company's strategic alternatives and is based on the restaurants not meeting acceptable levels of return on investment.

Target opened 15 new stores, bringing its total operations to 1,502 stores in 47 states. The new locations will be based in Chambersburg, Pa., Cleveland, Ohio, Culpeper, Va., Dothan, Ala., Jacksonville East, Fla., Jacksonville West Fla., Monticello, Minn., Nashville, Tenn., Oak Lawn, Ill, Ontario, Calif., Peoria, Ariz., Sterling Heights, Mich., Watertown, N.Y. and West Sacramento, Calif.

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