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LEDs: Benefits Extend Beyond Worth Energy Savings

BY Julia Raish

Retail facilities are making the shift to LEDs, a more efficient, brighter and longer lasting lighting option saves energy and reduces operating costs. Its rapid return on interest makes LED retrofitting a smart, simple fix.

But what if LED lighting installations could also increase and guide purchasing decisions? What if thoughtful placement and controlled lighting could make customers feel more comfortable and safe, and make employees more productive?

LED lighting technology has recently advanced, creating possibilities for uses beyond those of traditional bulbs. These trends illuminate new uses for lighting that affect the bottom line, customers, and employees. The investment is worth the switch.

As the Internet of Things and automated controls are installed to create smart buildings, advancements in LED lighting controls and connectivity are making strides.

Many retailers today implement lighting standards which allow for control and automation on smart timers and schedules, or turned on and off remotely to save energy when a space is unoccupied. Common light sensor installations include occupancy and vacancy sensors, as well as natural light-triggered time clocks and dimming controls.

Newer, more advanced lighting sensors can be controlled wirelessly through smart phones and tablets, allowing dimming, timing, and even customizable lighting color from anywhere in the world at the click of a button.

Studies have shown that controlled lighting leads to energy efficiency and human efficiency. Retail and commercial spaces are often brighter than necessary, which wastes energy and negatively affects customer comfort and employee productivity.

Light that is installed and managed for the task at hand – whether trying on clothing (brighter, frontal lighting), showcasing a product (varied, colorful highlighting), or operating a computer or register (dimmed overhead lighting), can be optimized.

And the products prove their worth – some systems can report the energy usage and savings directly to smart building systems.

Kimco Realty: Focus on outdoors
Lighting is just an impactful outside a retail store as it is inside. Kimco Realty, a leading U.S. retail REIT implemented its “Illuni-Nation” program, a sustainability initiative that committed $9 million to upgrade exterior lighting, in 100 of its properties by end of 2015.

By adding new energy efficient LED lights to its parking lots, Kimco improved aesthetics, and lowered expenses and energy use. Since the program began, Kimco has reported reduced parking lot electricity expenses by up to 40%.

Most importantly to Kimco, the lighting upgrade has positively affected customer safety, which has translated to profits. Added night illumination has improved foot traffic to retail stores and increased sales through the added sense of security and a more noticeable property from the street.

And for retailers in locations that are cognizant of light pollution, new LED technology allows for controlled light direction, and some are adding “hats” to reduce the amount of light transmitted upward after dark.

Outdoor lighting can also transform the customer experience. When walking through a mall or retail space, color is an important tool to grab customer attention. More retailers are putting the spotlight on their products by playing with color lighting to align with their brand, attract attention and personalize the shopping experience.

What’s Next?
Even more advanced LED systems are entering the market. For example, Kimco is exploring a lighting system that has camera and motion sensor integration, which is monitored by property managers through smart devices.

The system supports crime deterrence as well – if lights are programmed to dim in the late hours of night and movement is detected during this time, the lighting can brighten to 100% and can even audibly alert that the trespasser is being recorded.

LED lighting technology and connectivity will continue to provide new opportunities to support a better experience for all building occupants and facility managers. The energy savings by retrofitting to LEDs is reason enough, but the influence that smart, controlled lighting plays in the satisfaction of the costumer and employees is also proving its worth.



Julia Raish is a manager with Paladino and Company, a globally recognized green building consulting firm.

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Roof leak leads to $1.35 million slip and fall verdict against fast-food restaurant

BY Marianne Wilson

A law firm obtained a $1.35 million verdict for a victim after showing that Chipotle Mexican Grille was negligent in failing to repair a roof leak which, the firm said, ultimately lead to the victim's injuries.

Here is the story, according to a release by the West Palm Beach, Florida-based Steinger, Iscoe & Greene:

The store manager noticed the water pooling in the customer queuing area. He mopped and then verified the area was dry.

The following day, the manager found a puddle in the same area, purportedly caused by rainfall. He contacted the corporate office citing safety concerns and requested expeditious repair. He continued to follow up with corporate for weeks, noting the rusted window frame and continued puddles. He then placed a yellow 'caution' sign near the window to warn customers. By mid-June, 2012, however, the corporate office had not facilitated the repair, the law firm stated.

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Weak sales trend hits Dick’s Sporting Goods

BY Gina Acosta

The CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods said strong back-to-school sales couldn't help his company recover from a slowdown in consumer spending in the third quarter.

For the third quarter ended Oct. 31, Dick's reported a 0.7% increase in same-store sales. Earnings were $47.2 million, or 41 cents a share, compared with $49.2 million, or 41 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose 7.6% to $1.64 billion.

"Our positive same-store sales for the quarter reflected a strong back-to-school selling season tempered by slowing trends later in the quarter. Strength in athletic footwear, accessories and athletic apparel was moderated by the impact of record warm weather in more seasonal categories," said Edward W. Stack, chairman and CEO. "With strong operational discipline, we generated earnings per share within our guided range."

The company said inventory was up 13.1% year over year, and that it is working with its vendors to reduce its exposure to slow-selling merchandise by returning product, canceling orders and securing markdown allowances.

"As we look to the fourth quarter, we anticipate a more promotional environment. Our focus will be to actively manage our inventory levels, while continuing to take the appropriate actions to win share and strengthen our business for the long term."

Dick's says e-commerce penetration for the third quarter was 8% of total net sales, compared to 7.3% during third quarter 2014.

For the fourth quarter, Dick's is forecasting earnings in the range of $1.10 to $1.25, compared with $1.30 in the prior year. Same-store sales are projected in a range of down 2% to up 1%, compared with an increase of 3.4% in the same period a year ago.

In the third quarter, the company opened 27 new Dick's Sporting Goods stores and seven new Field & Stream stores. The company now operates 645 Dick's Sporting Goods stores, 75 Golf Galaxy stores and 19 Field & Stream stores.

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