Cold January for some retailers
New York — Snowstorms and bitterly cold weather took a bite out of sales for some retailers in January. One of the retailers feeling the chill was Fred’s, which posted a 1.8% decline in January same-store sales.
"The weather was a significant challenge for us in January," said CEO Bruce Efird, who added that it disrupted shopping patterns, but also resulted in “more than 120 store closings during the final week of the month."
The Buckle reported a 6.6% drop. Zumiez reported a 7.6% decline. Stein Mart saw its same-store sales inch down 0.7%.
But a couple of retailers managed to buck the trend. L Brands, formerly Limited Brands, said that its January same-store sales rose 9%. Costco Wholesale Club had a 5% increase, excluding gasoline.
Walgreens still evaluating sales of tobacco
Deerfield, Ill. — Responding to the announcement by CVS Caremark that its plans to stop selling tobacco products in its stores, Walgreens stated that the category has been under review at its stores, too.
Walgreens has been evaluating its tobacco line for “some time,” and, according to spokesperson Michael Polzin, it “will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking cessation products and alternatives that help reduce the demand for tobacco products.”
Walgreens also announced a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare to launch a free, Internet-based smoking cessation program called Sponsorship to Quit. The program will provide smokers with customized tools to track their progress in quitting smoking.
SunEdison completes 306 kW solar system for Whole Foods in Brooklyn
Belmont, Calif. — SunEdison, a solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services, announced the completion of a 306 kW DC (direct current) solar system for Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, N.Y.
SunEdison designed the system using an innovative parking canopy structure that collects rainwater while protecting customers from the elements. The two companies have worked together since 2004 and have jointly deployed 1.5 MW (megawatts) of solar projects.
Whole Foods Brooklyn is designed to be 0% more energy efficient than the average grocery store with more than 25% of site power needs being met by solar energy. The rainwater collected by the parking canopy is fed into a 30,000-gallon underground cistern where it is filtered and used for non-potable purposes throughout the store.
"Environmental stewardship is an essential part of our core values and we spend a tremendous amount of our time thinking about how we can improve our efforts," said J’aime Mitchell, green mission specialist for Whole Foods Market’s Northeast Region. "Working with a partner like SunEdison has been a tremendous benefit for us as they’re continuously willing to create innovative designs that help us achieve our renewable energy goals."