STORE SPACES

Sears to compete in Energy Star building competition

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings said Friday it has again been selected to participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings.

For the third consecutive year, Sears will participate in the competition, this year entering 56 facilities that will compete against thousands of other teams representing buildings across the country. All efforts will be focused on eliminating waste through improvements in energy efficiency with help from EPA’s Energy Star program.

"This year, we are dramatically increasing the number of facilities which we have entered into the competition and are looking to take our energy management program to the next level,” said Rajan Penkar, senior VP and president, supply chain.

The teams in the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition represent more than 30 different types of commercial buildings — such as retail stores, schools, hotels and museums — and hail from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The competitors range from a Kmart store on the island of St. Thomas and a crime lab in Phoenix, to a Federal office building in Nome, Alaska.

The EPA will maintain a website devoted to the competition, Energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings, featuring a list the competitors and their "weigh-in" – a la TV series “The Biggest Loser” — results, a live Twitter feed where competitors will post updates on their progress, and a user-generated photo stream where competitors will upload pictures of their energy-saving efforts.

"Thousands of buildings across the country are going on energy diets with help from EPA and Energy Star," said Jean Lupinacci, director of EPA’s Energy Star Commercial Buildings Program. "Organizations like those competing in this year’s National Building Competition are taking a bold step by putting themselves in the spotlight as they compete to protect the environment and save as much energy as possible."

Competitors will measure and track their building’s monthly energy consumption using EPA’s Energy Star online tracking tool, Portfolio Manager; make improvements to their building’s energy performance; and share their progress. Of the initial pool of nearly 3,300 competitors, the building that demonstrates the greatest percentage-based reduction in energy use intensity will be recognized as the winner in April 2013.

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STORE SPACES

Express to open 30+ Central and South American stores over 5 years

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Columbus, Ohio — Express said Friday that one of its subsidiaries has entered into a franchise agreement with Fastco Commercial S.A., a retail franchise operator, to open more than 30 Express stores over a five-year period in Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Express said it expects there will be up to three Express locations open in Panama, Peru, and Costa Rica by the end of the fourth quarter. The product assortment in these locations will resemble that of the U.S. stores with moderate seasonal adjustments. The stores are expected to have the same new store design that Express is rolling out in the U.S.

"This is another exciting step in Express’ international expansion strategy, particularly with such an experienced partner," said Michael Weiss, president, chairman and CEO, Express.

The company previously announced that it plans to drive international expansion through a three-pronged approach that includes company-owned stores, joint venture relationships and franchise agreements.

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FINANCE

Roundy’s grows Q2 profit

BY Staff Writer

Milwaukee — Midwestern grocer Roundy’s reported Friday that net income for the quarter ended June 30 rose 6.6% to $18.9 million, compared with $17.7 million in the year-ago period. Sales edged up 1.7% to $996.8 million.

Same-store sales dropped 3.3%.

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