STORE SPACES

McDonald’s hoping for LEED Gold for Cary, N.C., location

BY CSA STAFF

New York City McDonald’s is hoping to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for its unit in Cary, N.C.

The restaurant, which opened in July, replaced a 25-year-old McDonald’s on the same spot. The original building was torn down and rebuilt (with materials that feature a high recycled content) to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“My efforts in building this store are two fold: to be economically sound with energy-efficient methods and, at the same time, to provide a modern space for the enjoyment of customers, “ said Rica Richards, McDonald’s franchise owner/operator.

Similar to McDonald’s other green restaurant projects, the Cary location will serve as learning lab to provide a better understanding of green technologies and how they could be applied to new and existing restaurant designs. It features a daylighting system that utilizes tubular daylighting devices (from Solatube, Vista, Calif.), and is lit 97% with LED lights (from Cree, Durham, N.C.). The LEDs are featured throughout the space, including dining areas, kitchen, and restrooms as well as the drive-thru.

The Cary McDonald’s has a fully automated, intelligent lighting-control system that combines light from the high-efficiency LEDs and daylighting from the Solatube skylights with a photo sensor to maintain the proper light levels on work surfaces.

Compared with the standard lighting packages, the restaurant consumes 78% less electricity for lighting.

The building also uses water conservation measures such as low-flow toilets and landscaping consisting of native and adaptive plants and trees requiring little or no irrigation. Richards expects this will allow the restaurant to save 550,000 gallons of water annually.

In other green measures, the table and wall decor incorporate rapidly renewable materials such as sunflower seed board, wheat board, bamboo and kirei board. An educational touch screen in the dining room is designed to inform guests about the building and its environmental benefits.

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Office retail results indicate weak business climate

BY CSA STAFF

Office Depot and OfficeMax reported a drop in third-quarter sales but eked out profits, thanks to expense control and a focus on sales in profitable categories.

At OfficeMax, same-store sales declined 11.5% and total retail segment sales decreased 11% to $923 million. Operating profits fell slightly to $28.4 million from $29.1 million. However, a reduction in expenses enabled the company to increase its operating margin rate to 3% of sales from 2.8% the prior year. The company ended the quarter with 1,010 stores in its retail division, consisting of 932 units in the United States and 78 stores in Mexico.

“While continued lower sales levels strained our profitability this quarter, we managed to mitigate the impact by reducing costs and improving our operations,” said Sam Duncan, OfficeMax chairman and CEO. “Our relentless focus on implementing disciplined growth initiatives, differentiating our business and increasing our productivity continue to significantly benefit our performance.”

Despite that assertion, the OfficeMax missed analysts’ earning per share expectations by a wide margin, reporting a seven cents a share profit that was half of what analysts were expecting.

Profit were also hard to come by at Office Depot as top line sales growth was weak. Office Depot said sales at its North American retail division declined 18% to $1.3 billion due to 117 fewer stores and a 14% same-store sales decline. Despite the reduced sales volume, the division grew operating profits to $35 million compared to $12 million the prior year due in part to a conscious effort to reduce what it called, “unacceptable margin promotions in select categories.” Reduced expenses, lower asset impairment charges and improved inventory management also contributed to improved profitability.

“We are pleased with both our operating results and cash flow performance in the third quarter,” said Mike Newman, Office Depot’s CFO. “We exceeded our expectations in the quarter as a result of strong execution across the entire enterprise.”

Office Depot reported a loss of eight cents a share, excluding special items, which exceeded analysts’ estimates for a loss of 10 cents a share.

Office Depot ended the quarter with 1,158 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

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Food Lion, Kysor//Warren introduce innovative refrigeration

BY CSA STAFF

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. Food Lion and refrigeration manufacturer Kysor/Warren unveiled the grocery industry’s first cascading refrigeration system with naturally occurring carbon dioxide to keep frozen and fresh foods cold.

Food Lion demonstrated the system during an event held for industry peers and members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership, a cooperative alliance working to reduce the use of ozone-depleting gases and curb greenhouse gas refrigerant emissions. The College Park store is Food Lion’s fourth GreenChill advanced refrigeration store and its third store to incorporate the use of CO2, which reduces the amount of refrigerants needed to keep products cool or frozen by more than 30%.

The system is Food Lion’s first “cascading” CO2 refrigeration cycle, which uses a single system and just one condensing unit to refrigerate and freeze foods. Before Kysor//Warren developed this system, grocers incorporating CO2 refrigeration systems needed two condensing units as well as a freezer-specific system and a refrigeration, medium temperature, specific system. This is Kysor//Warren’s first CO2 advanced refrigeration system in a retail grocery store setting.

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