FINANCE

NRF: Tax reform proposal would boost economy

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation welcomed a proposal to reform the nation’s tax structure announced Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., saying it would strengthen the economy and jobs.

“This plan would give our nation the simpler, fairer tax system that we desperately need, but it’s about far more than just tax reform,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This is the foundation for job creation, increased take-home pay and business growth that would restore the prosperity that has slipped away for far too many American families.”

“This is good for the economy, and what’s good for the economy is good for retail,” Shay said. “Consumers with money in their pockets buy more, and the products they buy mean even more jobs, not just in stores but in virtually every sector as the ripple effect spreads out. Moves like this – not government-ordered wage hikes and other mandates that erect barriers to job creation – are the way to get America back on track,” Shay said.

Legislation proposed by Camp would lower the current top corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% in return for eliminating a wide range of tax deductions and credits.

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the proposal would boost GDP by $3.4 trillion over 10 years, create 1.8 million jobs, boost the median take-home income of a family of four by $1,300 annually and result in a 2.1% increase in consumer spending. By contrast, a Congressional Budget Office report found that increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current $7.25 would cost the nation 500,000 jobs.

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News

Changes in Bed Bath & Beyond’s executive leadership team

BY CSA STAFF

Bed Bath & Beyond has promoted Eugene A. Castagna, previously CFO and treasurer, to the role of chief operating officer. Susan E. Lattmann, formerly VP of finance, will fill the CFO and treasurer spot.

Castagna has been with the company since November 1994 and has served as CFO and Treasurer since 2006. Previously, he served as assistant treasurer from 2002 to 2006 and as VP of finance from 2000 to 2006. In addition, his duties have included several key operational functions, including primary responsibility for the company’s integration and growth of its baby product business since the acquisition of buybuy BABY in 2007, and helping lead the integration efforts following the 2012 acquisition of Cost Plus World Market.

Lattmann has been with the company since August 1996. She has been VP of finance since 2006, and previously served as VP and controller from 2001 to 2006 and as controller from 2000 to 2001. Prior to joining the company, Lattmann, a certified public accountant, spent six years with the firm of Arthur Andersen.

"These promotions further strengthen our deep and experienced management team as we execute our long-term strategic plans,” said CEO Steven Temares. “Throughout the last several years, Gene’s role has expanded beyond his financial responsibilities to include several key operational and planning areas, and Sue has made valuable contributions to all aspects of our financial and strategic processes. Today’s announcement has positioned both Gene and Sue to assume even greater roles in helping lead and organize our company for continued growth and success."

The company also announced the extension of its employment agreements with its co-chairmen Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein for a period of three years, to Feb. 25, 2017.

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STORE SPACES

Regular Cleaning of Condenser Coils in Refrigeration and Freezer Appliances Results in Maximum Efficiency

BY CSA STAFF

By Richard P. Fennelly, director of product development, Coilpod

It’s a well-known industry fact that refrigeration and freezer appliances, which are no longer exclusive to supermarkets, are major electricity “hogs” in retail stores.

Unfortunately, many store owners/operators are not following an important maintenance task that is uniformly recommended by the manufacturers of these appliances: monthly or bimonthly cleaning of the condenser coil unit that is contained in the appliances. It is a topic that needs to be front and center for any organization interested in maximum efficiency for these appliances.

The need for such a cleaning protocol largely goes unrecognized because the visually non-appealing condenser coil unit lies hidden behind a panel or grille blocking view of its deteriorating condition over time.

The problem festers until a service technician discovers it on an expensive unscheduled service call when the unit begins to malfunction. With the projected market in refrigerated display cases alone slated to grow from about $8.8 billion dollars in 2012 to about $16.3 billion dollars in 2019, this issue is likely to grow exponentially, especially for plug-in units which might account for almost 68% of this growth.


Since the condenser coils are responsible for dumping the warm air extracted from the enclosed cooling chamber into the outside air, the build-up of dirt or debris on the coils will compromise their heat transfer ability and the cooling efficiency of the unit. And over time, such dirt and debris invariably does form on the coils unless a regular maintenance program is followed. The result: close to a 10% higher electricity bill for each refrigeration unit and close to a 20% higher bill for each freezer unit!

Additionally, the non-maintained units work harder, causing premature appliance aging due to longer run times, and have an increased chance of equipment failure because of higher pressures and operating temperatures. Finally, the store environment becomes less “green” as the coils collect dirt and other debris.

The benefits that come with a condenser coil unit cleaning program are reflected with 75% of those issues deemed most important by the attendees of the recent Star Refrigeration 2013 Roadshow, namely, energy savings/run efficiency (26%); operating cost (18%); reliability (14%); maintenance (14%); and performance (3%). (Click here for the survey.)


What is the best way for the maintenance program to be conducted? Since the plug-in appliances containing these condenser units are located inside the store, the traditional cleaning method has been to use either a combination of brushing and vacuum or, even better, a combination of brushing, vacuum, with a supply of compressed air to assist in the dislodging of dirt or debris that is lodged within the coil structure.

Using compressed air (e.g., from a standard wet/dry vac) is problematic since, unless contained, this air steam will pollute the store environment necessitation additional cleanup. The traditional way in which dislodged debris has been captured has been the use of a container, such as a box, lined with a damp cloth to capture and hold the airborne debris. Often, a two person team was needed for the cleaning operation – one to hold the box/cloth capture device, the other to blow compressed air and vacuum during the cleaning operation.

Most recently, however, more scientifically engineered dust containment bags have been developed that allow for a single person to effectively blow out debris from the coils while vacuuming the airborne debris into a vacuum appliance without polluting the surrounding environment. In many cases, it is not even necessary to have this rather non-technical cleaning task performed by a refrigeration service technician — it is definitely within the capability of the do-it-yourselfer.

Preventative maintenance programs are often the first ones to be eliminated when operating budgets are reduced. This is shortsighted since a well-structured preventative maintenance program for these refrigeration and freezer energy “hogs” can more than pay for itself in energy savings while prolonging the life of such equipment and reducing the cost of maintaining it over its lifetime. It is easy to save from $100-$200 per unit in electric costs as a result of a disciplined condenser coil cleaning program. For stores that contain a multiple of such units, the savings can be in the thousands of dollars. These cost savings go directly to the bottom line.

There has been much talk and press attention given to a whole host of energy efficiency steps that the retail industry can take (energy efficient lighting, better insulation, better protocols for heating and cooling schedules, etc.). These all constitute “low hanging” fruit, most of which by this time has been picked. So how might we continue to squeeze out more efficiencies? Certainly, the scant attention that appears to have been paid to a disciplined PM program for the condenser coils in plug-in cooling appliances needs to change.

Richard P. Fennelly is director of product development at Coilpod, manufacturer of the Coilpod dust containment bag for use in the condenser coil cleaning of commercial refrigeration and freezer appliances. He can be reached at [email protected].

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