STORE SPACES

Grocer is first in North American to deploy this technology

BY Marianne Wilson

When it comes to energy-efficient refrigeration systems, Sprouts Farmers Market is on the leading edge of technology.

Hillphoenix said it has installed the first CO2 Booster System with ejector technology in North America at Sprouts' store in Woodstock, Georgia. The supplier is the first manufacturer in North America to introduce the technology as developed by Danfoss in the marketplace.

According to Jeff Newel, director of refrigeration systems R&D for Hillphoenix, ejector technology combined with parallel compression can yield significant savings in warm ambient areas like Georgia in the southern United States.

"When the system has been optimized – as revealed in tests carried out by our Advansor operation in Europe, savings for parallel compression alone and parallel compression combined with gas ejector technology can achieve peak energy reductions of 15% and 23% respectively," he said.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Sprouts operates more than 260 stores in 15 states from coast-to-coast.

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STORE SPACES

Industry vet joins WD Partners

BY Marianne Wilson

WD Partners announced that Elaine Kleinschmidt has joined the firm's Columbus office as executive VP of strategy & experience design.

Kleinschmidt joins WD Partners from Big Red Rooster, where she most recently served as VP, digital experience leading work for brands like Macy's, Under Armour and Cabela's with a focus on innovation, omniexperience strategy, and digital engagement. Previously, Kleinschmidt held creative leadership positions at Tweenbrands, Resource Interactive, Target, and Victoria's Secret.

At WD, Kleinschmidt will be responsible for the firm's approach to the customer journey, identifying key insights, moments and opportunities for brands to make an impact in their customer's lives. She will also support WD's business development team in the acquisition of new clients and work hand-in-hand with the design team leaders to connect the strategy to the creative execution.

"Elaine is a respected professional with great knowledge of the industry and a focus on being consumer centric in her approach," said Chris Doerschlag, CEO of WD Partners. "With twenty years of experience across agencies, clients, and a variety of influential brands like Under Armour, Target, and Victoria's Secret, Elaine is poised to make an immediate impact on our business, offering expert oversight on creating integrated customer experiences and strategies for our clients."

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Another retailer is entering the hotel arena

BY Marianne Wilson

Muji, the Tokyo-based global retailer, will open its largest store to date — underneath its very own hotel.

The company will open a hotel in in Tokyo's Ginza district in spring 2019. The hotel will be located in a new, 10-story building that will also house a 35,000-sq.-ft. Muji flagship. The store will occupy the basement floor and go up to part of the sixth floor, with the rest of the space above devoted to the hotel, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

The Tokyo development won't be Muji's first hotel. The company will open a hotel in Beijing and Shenzhen (China) by the end of this year. According to reports, the Muji hotels will be outfitted with the retailer's furniture, accessories and toiletries, and designed in the brand's signature minimalist style.

Muji is by no means the only retailer to lend its name to a hospitality venture. Several high-end European brands, including Bulgari, operate hotels. And American retailers are also getting in on the act. Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm division is set to open boutique hotels in partnership with DDK, beginning in five cities next year. Hipster leather brand Shinola will open a hotel in its Detroit hometown in 2018, and Restoration Hardware plans to open a small hotel just steps away from its flagship in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

The Muji hotels are being developed by Tokyo-based rail and hospitality group Odakyu Electric Railway.

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