OPERATIONS

Panera Bread Co. announces move to co-CEOs

BY Marianne Wilson

St. Louis — Panera Bread Co. announced that founder and executive chairman, Ron Shaich, and president and CEO, Bill Moreton, will become co-CEOs, effective immediately.

The announcement formalizes a relationship that has evolved over the last year and is a reflection of the way in which Shaich and Moreton have been operating as partners, the company said.

Each individual’s formal title will be as follows: Ron Shaich, chairman of the board and co-CEO; Bill Moreton, president and co-CEO.

At the end of 2011, Panera Bread Co. operated 1,541 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co., and Paradise Bakery & Café names.

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OPERATIONS

First Data issues report on gift card usage

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The average gift card dollar volume growth on a year-over-year basis increased 10% during the last six months of 2011, with consumers shopping earlier in the holiday season for prepaid cards and adding more value to their purchases than in 2010, according to a study by First Data Corp.

“The state of the economy in the U.S. led to a significant increase in the average consumer’s usage of prepaid cards,” said Silvio Tavares, SVP and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions. “Consumers were more willing to reload gift cards in order to earn discounts and rewards in everyday spending categories of grocery, discount, and gasoline.”

The report shows that grocery, discount, and gasoline retailers aligned their prepaid strategy to respond to the painful reality of higher fuel prices on the every-day spending needs of families. According to industry reports, the typical U.S. household spent a record $4,155 on gasoline in 2011 — about $1,300 more than the 10-year average. By leveraging prepaid reloadable cards in new and existing fuel rewards programs, best-in-class retailers gained a greater share of consumer spending, more repeat visits, and improved customer loyalty.

The report, “2011 Year-End Prepaid Gift Card Market Analysis,” is one of a series of research analyses from First Data Advisors, the custom analytics and consulting unit of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions.

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STORE SPACES

Bluestone Energy wins award for Stop & Shop energy-efficiency project

BY Staff Writer

Norwell, Mass. — An energy project undertaken for The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. by Bluestone Energy Services has been recognized as the Best Multi-Site Retail Energy Program in New England by the Association of Energy Engineers New England (AEENE).

The project included a range of energy improvements, including installing electronically commutated motors (ECMs) and replacing lighting fixtures with energy-efficient LEDs , at multiple Stop & Stop stores and distribution warehouses. Over a four-year period, the updates saved 46 million kilowatt hours while securing four million dollars in local utility incentives. On average, each improvement’s energy savings paid back its investment in less than two years.

Additionally, in 2011 Bluestone Energy completed two parking lot lighting retrofits for Stop & Shop. The first retrofit consisted of installing new LED heads. The second retrofit included the installation of high-efficiency electronic metal-halide ballasts and lamps that are configured to dim automatically during the off hours of the night.

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