ENERGY/HVAC

REI adds RECs to its renewable energy strategy

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — REI has committed to having all of its electricity from renewable sources. The retailer already has 26 solar electric systems generating clean power and a program designed to invest in energy efficiency. Now, REI is buying certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) as part of its strategy to green the energy that powers more than 130 stores, two distribution centers and its headquarters.

“We are encouraged that our overall energy use has been essentially flat in recent years, while we have grown significantly and connected more members and customers to the outdoors,” said Kirk Myers, corporate social responsibility manager at REI. “We intend to generate enough local renewable energy for our total electricity needs, but until then, RECs will be an important part of our energy strategy.”

REI purchases RECs from San Francisco-based 3Degrees, a leading provider of renewable energy marketing services, RECs, and carbon offsets. Demand created by 3Degrees and its partners supports hundreds of renewable energy projects that range from large-scale wind farms to innovative independent energy makers.

REI is committed to addressing its operational impact, which includes energy reduction. Its energy strategy is composed of increased efficiencies such as lighting retrofit projects, solar generation and renewable energy. Since 2006, REI has purchased some of its electricity from utility-provided green power that meets rigorous procurement criteria. While the company grew nearly 6% in 2013 over 2012, REI increased its energy consumption by just 0.1% and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 39.5%.

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FINANCE

Chipotle to raise prices for first time in three years

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Denver — Chipotle Mexican Grill said it will hike prices for the first time in three years, saying that customer loyalty will insulate the chain from pricing fallout.

New menu boards reflecting the 3%-5% higher prices will be in place at all restaurants by this summer, said Chipotle.

In defense of the raised prices, CFO Jack Hartung said in a conference call with analysts that "most of the value comes from the experience." He added that the chain had earned "permission" from customers to raise prices because of that experience.

Hartung suggested that additional price increases could be in the offing. "We’ve still got room," he said.

Chipotle’s decision was based on rising costs from goods such as beef, avocados and cheese, which have negatively impacted margins. First-quarter net income missed Wall Street expectations. Sales, however, rose 13.4% in the first quarter and, said Chipotle, the increased pricing will drop more dollars to the bottom line and ease margin pressures.

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REAL ESTATE

Nordstrom to relocate San Diego store as part of mall redevelopment

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Seattle — Nordstrom announced plans to relocate its full-line Westfield University Towne Center (UTC) department store in San Diego to a new space within the evolving mall.

The new two-level, 145,000-sq.-ft. Nordstrom store will open in 2017 as part of Westfield UTC’s resort-inspired redevelopment, which is adding specialty shops, restaurants, entertainment, sustainable design features and family-friendly amenities, as well as structured parking.

Nordstrom’s current 130,000-sq.-ft. store has been in operation since September 1984. It will remain open until the new store comes on line in 2017.

Nordstrom operates three other full-line stores in the greater San Diego area at Fashion Valley and Westfield Horton Plaza in San Diego and Westfield North County in Escondido.

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