FINANCE

Pep Boys to pay $5 million to resolve Clean Air Act violations claims

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department announced late Monday that The Pep Boys — Manny, Moe & Jack — will pay $5 million in civil penalties and take corrective measures to settle claims that it violated the Clean Air Act by importing and selling motorcycles, recreational vehicles and generators manufactured in China that do not comply with environmental requirements.

Baja, which supplied the non-compliant vehicles to Pep Boys, is also settling with the United States.

“Under this settlement Pep Boys and Baja will not only pay a civil penalty, but will offset the excess emissions from the vehicles and engines already sold and take steps that go beyond what the law requires to ensure that their future imports and sales meet Clean Air Act standards,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.

This is the largest vehicle and engine importation case brought by the United States to date under the Clean Air Act.

The complaint alleges that Pep Boys and Baja imported and sold at least 241,000 illegal vehicles and engines from 2004 through 2009.

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AAFES continues to invest in facilities

BY Marianne Wilson

During a time when many retailers are tightening the reins on capital expenditures, AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Services), which finances projects through the sale of merchandise and services, is actually accelerating facility renovations to improve service. Funding comes strictly from self-generated, non-appropriated resources and is not a burden to the American taxpayer.

“With a slumping economy, shoppers have been asking more questions about capital improvements,” said Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s senior VP real estate Mike Gividen. “We want our customers to know we are investing in our facilities more than ever before.”

According to Gividen, there is a direct correlation between patronage at the exchange and resulting capital improvement projects.

“AAFES shoppers are essentially AAFES’ shareholders and our goal is to be our customer’s first choice,” he said. “As such, we have a responsibility to properly re-invest in our facilities to provide a pleasant, first-class shopping experience.”

The replacement of aging facilities begins with a thorough evaluation of factors such as age, potential demand and military transformation requirements. Once complete, AAFES’ real estate team is able to identify potential priority locations that are reviewed for replacement.

By the end of 2010, AAFES will have opened five new shopping centers, including the world’s largest exchange, a sprawling 490,000-sq.-ft., multi-use retail development, Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. It is the first-ever open-air shopping center to be located on Military Post. This is in addition to six new shopping centers opened in 2009.

Even as it invests in new construction, AAFES is also investing in image updates, or facelifts, of existing exchanges.

“As we executed renovation projects last year, we were experiencing 25%-30% savings because contractors needed work,” said Gus Elliott, VP facilities division in charge of renovations. “As a result, we decided to accelerate future renovations not only to realize capital program savings, but to help the local contractors with increased business during these tough economic times.”

AAFES plans to bring 24 exchanges up to current retail design standards in 2010.

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Cleaning up after others

BY CSA STAFF

Target donated $50,000 to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund to protect and rescue wildlife and habitats impacted by the oil spill and restore fragile nesting and breeding grounds damaged by oil infiltration.

“Target is committed to funding programs that provide disaster relief to communities in need,” said Laysha Ward, president of Target community relations and Target Foundation. “Through our donation to the National Wildlife Federation, we hope to help protect the precious coastal resources and wildlife threatened by this crisis and preserve them for the next generation.”

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization with more than four million members, partners and supporters. The organization is likely to burn through Target’s donation quickly judging from how much BP, the company responsible for the oil spill, has already spent. The oil company said as of Monday it had spent $350 million on various efforts to contain oil hemorrhaging from the ocean floor in addition to cleanup efforts including the use of 275 vessels that so far have recovered about 90,000 barrels of oil.

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