J.C. Penney to increase Energy Star certifications to 400 stores
Plano, Texas — J.C. Penney Co. announced Thursday that it will up its participation in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program to 400 stores by the end of 2013. Energy Star certification is awarded to buildings that rank within the top 25% of similar commercial buildings nationwide by meeting strict energy performance levels set by the EPA.
J.C. Penney has a companywide goal to reduce facility energy use 20% by 2015.
"We’ve made strong progress toward our 2015 energy reduction target and now we’re taking our energy conservation efforts to the next level by doubling our Energy Star commitment from 200 to 400 certified stores by encouraging greater associate involvement and investing in energy efficiency improvements," said Mike Theilmann, group executive VP.
Improvements planned for 2011 include lighting retrofits for 240 stores, installation of 45,000 energy efficient LED accent lamps and expanding its advanced metering technologies to 165 facilities, which provides daily reports of electricity usage to help identify opportunities for substantial savings.
Last year, the company invested more than $12 million in the installation of high-efficiency lighting, advanced metering technologies as well as HVAC systems throughout its stores and supply chain units.
Report: Consumer confidence declines to nine-month low
Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by Bloomberg said that consumer confidence fell last week to the lowest level in nine months as the cost of fuel pinched U.S. household budgets.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined to minus 49.4 in the period to May 15, the worst reading since August, from the prior week’s minus 46.9. A gauge of personal finances plunged to the weakest level since October 2009, and a monthly measure of economic expectations held at a seven-month low.
“A persistent pessimism has settled in among the American public, suggesting a rough second quarter for the U.S. consumer and economy,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “Stagnant wages and an elevated level of unemployment are the probable causes behind the bleak view of the state of the national economy and household finance.”
Another report on Thursday showed that fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, making it more likely that the April surge in applications was caused by temporary events rather than deterioration in the labor market.
Jobless claims declined by 29,000 to 409,000 in the week ended May 14, the fewest in a month, Labor Department figures showed. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a drop to 420,000.
Dollar Tree profit soars 59%, raises forecast
Chesapeake, Va. — Dollar Tree reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended April 30 rose 59% to $101 million, compared with $63.6 million in the year-ago period. The 2010 figure included a charge of $26.3 million for a retail inventory accounting change.
The retailer raised its sales and profit forecast for the rest of the year.
Revenue increased more than 14% to $1.55 billion, beating Wall Street expectations. Same-store sales rose 7.1%.
The retailer said it opened 83 stores, closed seven and expanded or moved 41 in the quarter.
For the full year, the company expects revenue between $6.5 billion and $6.63 billion, up from a previous forecast of between $6.43 billion and $6.6 billion.
On a conference call with analysts, CEO Bob Sasser said Dollar Tree the chain plans to add coolers for fresh food to 325 stores this year, up from earlier projection of 225. The move would allow perishable food in roughly half of Dollar Tree’s stores by fiscal year-end.