OPERATIONS

Sears Canada CEO reviews turnaround at annual meeting

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Toronto — Sears Canada chief Calvin McDonald told attendees of the retailer’s annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday that the focus will be on its strongest categories to more quickly effect a turnaround.

Hard goods such as appliances and tools will be a major focus in the company’s three-year turnaround plan, said McDonald. Sears Canada is majority-owned by Sears Holdings Corp.

According to McDonald, four stores are currently being renovated to reflect the new focus on hard goods. As well, he said Sears would open four pilot stores under the Corbeil appliance banner in the Toronto area.

“We view this as an effective way to maintain our strength in major appliances,” he said.

A training initiative, also reviewed in the annual meeting, will see some 20,000 staff members re-trained with the new focus in mind.

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Lowe’s plans to raise nearly $2 billon from debt sale

BY CSA STAFF

Lowe’s has announced an agreement to sell $500 million of 1.625% notes due 2017, $750 million of 3.12% notes due 2022 and $750 million of 4.65% notes due 2042. Estimated net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $1.982 billion, after deducting offering expenses and underwriters’ discounts.

The net proceeds from the sale offering will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include repurchases of shares of common stock, capital expenditures, acquisitions and working capital needs, according to the retailer. Closing is expected to occur on April 23, 2012.

Wells Fargo Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co., and US Bancorp Investments are acting as joint book-running managers for the notes offering.

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Supervalu adds 250 stores to zero-waste program

BY CSA STAFF

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Supervalu is moving ahead with its sustainability efforts by increasing the number of stores that will divert 90% or more of their waste from local landfills by the end of the current fiscal year.

The retail chain said 250 stores will join its zero-waste program by the end of the current fiscal year ending Feb. 23, 2013. The announcement follows the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call last week, during which it reported it had transitioned 54 stores to 90% waste diversion during the past year, exceeding its original target of 40 locations.

"Last year marked incredible progress in our zero-waste efforts and we’re even more excited about what lies ahead," Supervalu president and CEO Craig Herkert said. "Keeping waste out of landfills is better for the environment, better for our customers and better for the bottom line. It’s simply the right thing for us to do."

Additional sustainable store operation achievements achieved by Supervalu banners during the last year included:

  • More than 54 million lbs. of food donated through the Fresh Rescue program — which captures such items as meat, dairy and produce that have reached their "sell by" date, but are still edible and safe, and donates them to local nonprofit organizations — equivalent to approximately 45 million meals using the USDA conversion of 1.2 pounds per meal.

  • Reduction of more than 28,000 tons of landfill waste in 2011, compared with calendar year 2010.

  • A 98%increase in mixed paper recycling, a 55% increase in hard plastic recycling, and 293% increase in the number of stores composting or diverting organic material (491 total).

  • Reduced garbage expenses costs $3.4 million and increased recycling income to more than $36 million.

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