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New Lighting Regulations

BY CSA STAFF

New legislation signed into law at the end of 2007 seeks to drive greater energy-efficiency standards and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 does not include all that many stipulations directly related to lighting. Two that do, however, are significant.

One effectively eliminates the manufacture of most common general-service incandescent lamps (with the exemption of certain decorative and specialty lamps) by mandating increased efficiency standards. The other virtually eliminates the manufacture of 150W to 500W probe-start metal-halide magnetic-ballasted fixtures.

“The first product to be regulated [based on provisions in the new bill] that may affect store lighting involves incandescent reflector lamps, which some retailers use for accent lighting,” said Joe Howley, manager of industry relations and environmental marketing, GE Consumer & Industrial. “R40s and R30s are being regulated, with the highest wattage restricted to a maximum of 65 watts. R20s, which some retailers may use on a small shelf or the like, are being restricted down to 45 watts.”

The restrictions on the incandescent reflector lamps are being implemented in the first six months of 2008.

“Generally speaking, these restrictions will have a minimal impact on retailers,” Howley said. “Retailers will still be able to use halogen IR Par lamps or standard halogen lamps.”

The new provisions regarding general-purpose incandescent lamps will require manufacturers to increase the efficiency of common 40W, 60W, 75W and 100W light bulbs by approximately 30%. The regulation will take effect beginning in January 2012, starting with 100W lamps, and continuing through January 2014. Manufacturers are already planning on introducing a variety of new incandescent and halogen products to meet the regulations.

In other restrictions, starting Jan. 1, 2009, manufacturers can no longer make electromagnetic ballasts for 4-ft. or 8-ft. T12 linear fluorescent lamps.

“In 2009, the restrictions will only pertain to new fixtures, which I would hope no retailers are buying anyway,” Howley said. “But starting June 30, 2010, we can no longer make those ballasts even for replacement in existing systems.”

This last restriction will pose a problem for retailers that have not upgraded their lighting for some time and are still using old T12 linear fluorescent systems to light their stores.

“The end result is that retailers that, for whatever reason, haven’t renovated their stores in years will have to change their lighting system whether they want to or not,” Howley explained.

The restrictions on electromagnetic ballasts are contained in the EPACT legislation. The most recent energy bill contains additional stipulations, and will, as of Jan. 1, 2009, require that nearly all new metal-halide fixtures come with an electronic or pulse-start ballast.

“You will no longer be able to get a basic metal-halide fixture with an old probe-start ballast,” Howley said. “Existing metal-halide systems, however, are not affected. You will still be able to get replacement ballasts.”

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Lampert, the Eli Manning of retail?

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. The New York Giants triumph over the highly favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl earlier this month, has become an example of coming from the bottom to win it all. Sears Holdings chairman Edward Lampert is one of the latest to use the Giants win, even going as far to compare himself, and the leaders of his company, to quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants analogy, and Eli Manning comparison, is applied mainly to the company’s Kmart division. In a letter to investors, posted on the Sears Holdings investor relations Web site, Lampert said during Kmart’s bankruptcy in 2002, the unit was “like an undrafted free agent who nobody thought had a chance to play in the big leagues.” Lampert went on to say, “Like Eli Manning, we know what it’s like to be underestimated and questioned, but we intend to keep working on our game to achieve our full potential.”

Sears Holdings reported net income of $426 million, or $3.17 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, compared with net income of $811 million, or $5.27 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, 2007. For the fiscal year ended Feb. 2, 2008, net income was $826 million, or $5.70 per diluted share compared with net income of $1.5 billion, or $9.58 per diluted share, for the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, 2007.

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Circuit City investor seeks to replace board

BY CSA STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. Circuit City Stores today acknowledged that it has received two proposals from shareholder Wattles Capital Management regarding its board of directors. Wattles holds approximately 6.5% of the outstanding shares of the company’s common stock.

Circuit City reported that Wattles proposed the idea of replacing the company’s Circuit City 12-member board of directors with its own nominees. Circuit City said its board of directors will review carefully the shareholder’s proposals and the qualifications of the nominees in accordance with its fiduciary duties, mindful that the proposal would give the shareholder absolute control of the entire board, which would be disproportionate to its relative ownership of the company’s shares.

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