OPERATIONS

Judge blocks former Wal-Mart exec from CVS job

BY CSA STAFF

Woonsocket, R.I. — A Delaware judge on Wednesday barred a former top executive for Wal-Mart Stores from taking a job as president of CVS Caremark Corp. until a trial is held on Wal-Mart’s claim that the executive signed a noncompete agreement that prevents him from working for CVS. The trial is scheduled for early March.

Vice-chancellor J. Travis Laster granted Wal-Mart’s request for a preliminary injunction following a hearing, which the nation’s largest retailer argued that Hank Mullany possessed confidential Wal-Mart information that CVS, a competitor, could use to its advantage.

CVS announced earlier this month that it had hired Mullany, who until last month was president of Wal-Mart’s Northern U.S. business.

Wal-Mart then sued CVS and Mullany, saying Mullany had signed a contract with Wal-Mart that forbids him from working for a competing company for at least two years.

According to Laster, CVS and Mullany took a calculated risk when entering into their employment agreement that Wal-Mart would not seek to enforce the noncompete agreement Mullany signed when he was promoted last January to president of Wal-Mart North.

The judge ruled that the scope and duration of the noncompete agreement appeared reasonable, and that Mullany, an experienced executive who consulted an attorney before signing the employment contract with Wal-Mart, should have know what he was doing.

Laster rejected CVS’s argument that it should not be considered a competitor of Wal-Mart, and that the noncompete agreement should not be enforced because Mullany did not work directly for Wal-Mart’s pharmacy business.

He said it was simply a "common-sense notion" that Wal-Mart and CVS, compete in the pharmacy sector, particularly when both are trying to expand and Wal-Mart is planning "small format" stores.

Lawrence Portnoy, an attorney for CVS, said that Mullany did not have any knowledge that would prove useful in the chain’s battling Wal-Mart’s small-format initiative.

"Whatever Mr. Mullany knew about small format, it’s old and cold already," Portnoy said, adding that CVS hired Mullany not for his knowledge about the pharmacy business, but for his general management experience.

But Laster noted that CVS and Wal-Mart were on "a collision course," and that Mullany was the executive sponsor of Wal-Mart’s small-format initiative.

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REAL ESTATE

WD Partners has contract to develop high-performance Home Depot store

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio — WD Partners has signed a multi-year contract with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to develop a high-performance Home Depot store in California through the Department of Energy’s Commercial Building Partnership (CBP). CBP projects put cutting-edge building techniques and technologies on the fast-track to wide-spread commercial use.

The team will design and construct an energy-efficient Home Depot prototype store that will require up to 50% less energy than American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Standard 90.1-2007 compliant buildings. The project is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

WD Partners has collaborated with The Home Depot for more than eight years to improve the efficiency and performance of their stores, including using other regional programs that incentivize energy such as Austin Energy Green Building and Savings by Design.

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REAL ESTATE

Work ’N Gear opens in-store shops at Kmart and Sears

BY CSA STAFF

Quincy, Mass. — Work ‘N Gear on Wednesday announced that it has teamed with Sears and Kmart to launch America’s first "store-within-a store" concept for healthcare fashions. The format has launched in select locations in six markets.

Called "Scrubology," the new in-store concept features approximately 600 sq. ft. to 1,500 sq. ft. of space within Sears and Kmart stores. The offerings will be dedicated to the uniform needs of professionals who work as doctors, nurses, veterinarians, lab technicians and more.

The concept was developed by Work ‘N Gear, the largest retail chain in the United States specializing in work apparel and uniforms for professionals in industrial, service and healthcare fields. In collaboration with Sears and Kmart, 10 Scrubology "stores" in total were opened in November 2010, including two in Arizona, four in Michigan, one in Illinois and three in Pennsylvania.

"More than 70% of professionals in healthcare have to buy their own scrubs — and it can often be a real challenge to shop locally for the name brands, quality, style and sizes they want," said Anthony DiPaolo, CEO of Work ‘N Gear. "We’re very thrilled to be working with Sears on this venture, because Scrubology can offer healthcare professionals the advantage of finding the scrubs they want right in their own community, in a store where they are already shopping."

The Scrubology in-store shop has its own unique signs and displays. It is anticipated that more Scrubology locations will launch at select Sears and Kmart locations in 2011.

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