OPERATIONS

ECOtality and Sears expand relationship with EVCs in two added states

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — ECOtality said Tuesday that it has expanded its current relationship with Sears Holdings Corp. by unveiling the Blink Direct Current Fast Charger stations at Sears stores in Tennessee and Arizona.

The stations enable Sears customers to charge an electric vehicle battery up to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes.

As part of The EV Project, ECOtality said it worked closely with Sears during the site selection process, evaluating store traffic, EV density and availability of the DC stations. Currently, five fast-charging sites have been installed and the pair said there is opportunity to expand to additional Sears stores.

In addition to the fast chargers, Sears Holdings has implemented level 2 charging stations at 12 additional Sears stores.

"We are delighted to see that the EV Charging stations are already offering a valuable service to our customers, communities and associates, and we are excited to see how many hours charging we can achieve in 2013," said Rajan Penkar, SVP and president supply chain, Sears Holdings.

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FINANCE

Bob Evans to sell off 145-unit Mimi’s Café for $50 million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Columbus, Ohio– Bob Evans Farms said Tuesday it will divest its Mimi’s Café restaurant chain, selling it to LeDuff America – owner of Bruegger’s Bagels – for $50 million.

LeDuff America, a subsidiary of French bakery conglomerate Groupe LeDuff SA, will add the 145 Mimi’s units to its current portfolio of café-bakeries and coffee shops, including La Madeleine Country French Cafe, Brioche Doree, Bruegger’s Bagels, Timothy’s Coffee and Michel’s Baguette.

"This transaction is a positive development for Bob Evans as well as for Mimi’s Café,” said Bob Evans chairman and CEO Steve Davis. “After closing the sale, Bob Evans will have reset itself to better focus efforts and investments on achieving our long-term commitment to grow earnings per share 8% to 12% annually.”

Davis said the company will work to continue growth initiatives at Bob Evans Restaurants, such as the Farm Fresh Refresh remodeling program and geographic expansion through new restaurant openings.

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FINANCE

Report: Tesco revival gains traction

BY Katherine Boccaccio

London — A Tuesday report by Bloomberg said that Tesco Plc may be recovering from its financial doldrums, as the country’s largest supermarket chain has matched market growth for the first time in more than 18 months.

Citing Kantar Worldpanel’s latest market share figures, Bloomberg said that at Tesco stores rose 3.3% in the 12 weeks ended Jan. 20, the same pace as the industry. Growth exceeded Wal-Mart Stores’ Asda and J Sainsbury, which gained 2.1% and 3.2% respectively.

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