STORE SPACES

Applebee’s reduce lighting-related energy use by 88% with LEDs

BY Marianne Wilson

Satellite Beach, Fla. — Lighting Science Group Corp. has collaborated with Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar to monitor, evaluate and markedly reduce energy usage for lighting in Applebee’s 23 company-owned restaurants. Through the installation of ultra-efficient and design-enhancing LED lamps, Applebee’s should net an energy reduction for lighting of 88% per year.

“Replacing outdated incandescent and halogen bulbs made economic sense to us,” said Bill O’Keefe, Applebee’s executive director of development. “The new LED lighting systems make our restaurants more energy efficient and match our design standards, and Lighting Science has been a valuable partner in this process.”

Applebee’s replaced over 3,000 incandescent and halogen lamps with Lighting Science’s 8W A19 LED, 14W BR30 LED, 8W Par20 LED, and 6W MR16 LED. Following the project’s completion, Applebee’s reported an 88% reduction in total energy usage for lighting, sparing an average of 820 kilowatts per year.

The initial cost estimate of the LED lighting retrofit was tempered by utility rebates made possible with the lamps’ Energy Star certifications. A tax deduction through the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT) also applied. Considering these incentives, Applebee’s anticipates a simple payback in a little over seven months.

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FINANCE

NRF: Proposed swipe fee settlement ‘benefits no one’

BY Staff Writer

Washington — Lawyers representing the National Retail Federation and many of the nation’s most prominent retail companies are set to appear in court today to ask a federal judge to reject a proposed class-action settlement of an antitrust lawsuit over the $30 billion a year in credit card swipe fees charged by Visa and MasterCard.



“This proposal benefits no one but lawyers and credit card companies, and should not be forced on the retail industry or retailers’ customers,” NRF senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “It’s a morass of legal flaws, and rather than bringing about reform it would only entrench the anticompetitive behavior of the card companies while putting them beyond the reach of the law. It should be rejected on its face.”


A hearing on a motion for preliminary approval of the proposed settlement is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, N.Y. Gleeson will hear arguments on a brief filed last week by NRF, 17 retail and restaurant companies and two other trade associations. NRF is not a party to the lawsuit, but its members and the companies named in the brief would be affected if the case is approved as a class action. Arguments will also be heard on briefs filed by other opponents, including retailers and associations who were parties to the suit but who have rejected the proposal.


NRF argued in its brief that the settlement cannot legally be certified as a class action because it attempts to force a one-size-fits-all solution onto a wildly diverse group of merchants. It also argued that a provision barring all retailers – including those who opt out of the settlement and even those who do not yet exist – from filing future lawsuits over swipe fees is impermissibly broad under federal law.

In addition, the proposal allows retailers to reject payments offered as compensation for past price-fixing but gives no mechanism to opt out of flawed injunctive relief that would allow card companies to continuing price fixing and fee increases in the future.



NRF opposes the settlement because it fails to reform the cartel-like system where Visa and MasterCard set a rigid schedule of swipe fees that all banks follow. It does nothing to disclose the hidden fees or otherwise create transparency that would encourage competition that would lead to lower fees. Merchant bargaining groups could be recognized, but that is no change from current law. And while some merchants would theoretically be given the right to surcharge as a bargaining chip to hold down fees, the provision is subject to a wide variety of card company restrictions, would be illegal in 10 states, and ignores the goal of merchants to reduce prices paid by their customers.

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STORE SPACES

Harbinger to fabricate and install LED pylon signs for 600 7-Eleven stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Jacksonville, Fla. — Harbinger, a national sign fabrication company, has won a contract to fabricate and install double-faced LED-illuminated pylon signs for more than 600 7-Eleven locations in the United States. Harbinger will convert exterior signage to the 7-Eleven brand for the company’s newly acquired stores.

Harbinger will provide turnkey signage solutions, including site analysis and surveys, permitting, architectural drawings, local code research and compliance, brand-identity management, and sign fabrication and installation. The work for all 600 locations is expected to be completed by March 2013.

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