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Protect Your Investment

BY CSA STAFF

Wood flooring has been making a comeback of late in retail stores, where it is turning up in place of stone, tile and other hard-surface flooring materials. Although such surfaces don’t come cheap, running from $3 per square foot for unfinished oak planks to more than $12 a square foot for exotic types of wood, there is no denying their appeal. The combination of aesthetics, design possibilities and durability makes wood flooring an attractive option for retail spaces.

Although wood flooring offers many advantages, cleaning experts caution that such floors have distinct maintenance requirements. The key is maintenance on a regular basis.

“Dirt and dust on a wood floor is like a razor cutting into the floor,” said Mike Nelson, VP of marketing for Pro-Link, Canton, Mass., a full-service janitorial supply, marketing and buying organization. “That’s why it’s so essential to have an effective maintenance program. This includes vacuuming, dust mopping with microfiber dust mops that don’t require mop treatment systems so no excess oil is added to the floor, and damp mopping.”

Performed regularly, these daily practices can protect a retailer’s upfront investment. Regular maintenance also can delay such costly tasks as refinishing, which can negatively impact air quality as a result of sanding.

“Every hour spent on maintenance duties will save many hours of labor in the future,” Nelson added. “It’s an investment that pays big dividends in appearance, safety, and prolonging the life of expensive hardwood surfaces.”

Among Nelson’s floor-care suggestions for retailers:

“Beyond daily maintenance, wood floors also need a ‘deeper cleaning’ or scrubbing, depending upon usage,” Nelson said. “An automatic scrubber may be used to remove soil, dirt and stains on the surface of the wood floor, especially dirt that a dust mop doesn’t remove.”

Training should be an important component of any maintenance program. The more formalized the training process, the better the long-term results, according to Nelson.

“Comprehensive floor-care training also saves money,” he said. “Workers learn how to use products, chemicals and equipment most effectively, which helps reduce time and labor costs.”

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Wal-Mart to sell earth-friendly CDs

BY CSA STAFF

SANTA MONICA, Calif. As part of Wal-Mart’s “Earth Month” the company is selling more than 20 Universal Music Group titles that come with special earth-friendly inserts. The inserts are made with special seed paper and, according to the companies, can actually bloom into wildflowers.

The inserts, in addition to being good for the environment, also offer consumers three free digital downloads from Universal Music. Universal also said that a number of its new CDs will be packaged in third-party certified, renewable recycled board and recyclable paper.

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ODP urges rejection of Levan nominees

BY CSA STAFF

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. Office Depot is continuing to urge its shareholders to reject dissident nominees and elect the company’s nominees to its board of directors at its annual shareholders meeting this April.

In a proxy statement sent to investors, Office Depot said that Alan Levan’s proposed nominees would do little to help improve shareholder value. According to the statement, Levan’s company, Levitt Corp. has seen its share price fall about 93% over the past three years and that its subsidiary, Levitt and Sons, is in bankruptcy. Office Depot also noted that BankAtlantic, of which Levan is chairman and ceo and one of his nominees, is president of real estate, construction and development, share price has dropped approximately 75% over the past three years.

Office Depot also cited news reports that commented on Levan’s failing business ventures, as well as others that said that his nominees are not qualified to serve on Office Depot’s board of directors.

The company pointed out nominee Mark Begelman’s experience with Mars Music, a company he founded in 1997 that went bankrupt in 2002. According to Office Depot, many news reports attributed this failure to a flawed business strategy.

According to Office Depot, when Levan’s other nominee, Martin Hanaka served as chairman of Sports Authority from 1998 to 2003, the company saw its price fall by about 13%.

Office Depot stressed that its directors best understand the company and are well-suited to help the company grow.

“We strongly believe that removing two of the most experienced retailing executives from our board, including our current ceo who is driving the implementation of our strategic turnaround plan, would be highly disruptive, could delay the implementation of internal and external initiatives and could damage prospects for a successful turnaround,” Office Depot said in the proxy statement.

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