OPERATIONS

Home Depot to hold more than 700 in-store hurricane workshops

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — The Home Depot announced a single-day effort to prepare residents in storm-prone regions for the upcoming hurricane season. On July 27, Home Depot said it will host Hurricane Preparedness Workshops at more than 700 of its stores from the Gulf Coast to New England.

The expansion of the workshops is one of several preemptive measures the company is taking in preparation for 2013 hurricane activity, which is once again predicted to be above average.

Workshop leaders will cover critical hurricane readiness topics, such as storm prep projects, generator safety, sizing generators for specific home or business needs and assembling disaster preparedness kits.

"We play a critical role in the disaster response infrastructure before and after storms, and we have expanded that focus to more stores and facilities in our Northern Division," said Marvin Ellison, executive VP U.S. Stores.

In addition to moving Workshops farther north this year, Home Depot has expanded its hurricane operating plan and has enhanced its supply chain readiness in northern facilities, including a new rail-connected distribution depot serving Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

In other storm-related efforts, the company opened a unique satellite storm recovery location in Seaside Heights, N.J., for post-Superstorm Sandy recovery.

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Target expanding beauty concierge program to 190 locations by yearend

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Target Corp. will expand its in-store "beauty concierge" service to 27 stores in Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Baltimore on June 28. The program, which Target piloted in the Chicago area last summer, is also being rolled out to 96 stores in Los Angeles/Orange County, 36 stores in Minneapolis and has been expanded to 41 stores in Chicago. It will have been implemented in a total of 190 stores by the end of 2013.

Under the program, stores will be staffed with brand-agnostic beauty experts who will provide shoppers with beauty tips and unbiased and personalized information about beauty and personal care products. The beauty associates will wear a distinct black apron and be located in the beauty aisle.

"In an often crowded and sometimes daunting marketplace, Target’s Beauty Concierge program ensures that guests receive the friendly, personalized assistance and counsel they need,” said Samir Shah, Target’s senior VP stores, Northeast.

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Wal-Mart pleads guilty in hazardous waste case; will pay $82 million

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Wal-Mart Stores pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to improperly handling and disposing of hazardous waste in California and Missouri, and agreed to pay about $82 million in fines. The settlement brings to a close an environmental investigation that lasted some eight years.

In cases filed by federal prosecutors in California, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials. The chain also pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Mo., to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Wal-Mart said its plea agreements with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Northern and Central Districts of California, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri and an administrative resolution signed with the Environmental Protection Agency bring an end to compliance issues that took place years ago.

The resolution follows previous civil settlements the company entered into with California in 2010 and Missouri in 2012 that addressed the same facts raised by the federal government in the recent settlement, In total, Wal-Mart will have paid approximately $110 million to resolve all of these related cases, which includes $27.6 million paid to the state of California and more than $1.25 million to the state of Missouri.

In 2006, Wal-Mart put an environmental compliance program into place that it says has helped to rectify such issues.

“Walmart has a comprehensive and industry-leading hazardous waste program,” said Phyllis Harris, senior VP and chief compliance officer, Walmart U.S. “The program was built around training, policies and procedures on how to safely handle consumer products that become hazardous waste, and we continue to run the same program in every store and club that was deployed years ago. We are pleased that this resolves all of these issues raised by the government.”

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