STORE SPACES

Sears Holdings wins EPA Energy Star’s highest honor: the Corporate Commitment Award

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. said Thursday that it has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star program’s highest honor: the Energy Star Corporate Commitment Award.

The award was given in recognition of Sears leadership in energy efficiency and commitment to continuous improvements. Sears is the fifth corporation to earn the distinction in the EPA’s history, and is the first company to receive the award since 2005.

Since 2006, Sears has achieved a significant 1,371,648,000 kWh in electricity savings. Performance reports from EPA’s energy management tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager, illustrate Sears’ progress, specifically a 6.5 kBtu/sq.-ft. reduction (4.31%) in 2011.

"Sears Holdings has so fully integrated the ENERGY STAR program into our energy goals, it has become a part of our DNA," said Mike LeRoy, energy director for Sears Holdings. "With Sears’ expansive building footprint encompassing thousands of retail stores nationwide, we emphasize best-in-class energy management as a powerful tool to reduce our environmental impact."

In addition, Kmart achieved Energy Star Leaders recognition for reducing energy consumption since 2008 by more than 10% in its portfolio of buildings. Sears said that since January 2008, Kmart has reduced energy consumed in its buildings by 11.4% through lighting retrofits at more than 860 facilities, the use of building energy management systems, and sound energy disciplines.

Sears has been involved with Energy Star for more than 13 years. It earned the Energy Star certification for 151 buildings in 2011.

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News

PetSmart not going to the dogs

BY CSA STAFF

PHOENIX — When it comes to pets, no expense is too great, and many owners will even forgo spending on themselves in order to get the very best for their animals. Therefore, it is not surprising that such companies as PetSmart continue to perform well even in a down economy.

For its fourth quarter, PetSmart reported that earnings per share were up 18% to 91 cents. Comparable-store sales grew 5.5%, benefitting from comparable transactions growth of 2.9%. Total sales for the quarter were up 8% to $1.6 billion.

For the year, the company delivered earnings per share of $2.55, up 27% compared with $2.01 last year. Comparable-store sales grew 5.4%, benefitting from comparable transactions growth of 2.5%. Total sales for the year were $6.1 billion, up 7%.

“We are pleased to report another quarter of solid earnings growth,” said Bob Moran, chairman and CEO. “2011 was a great year overall, with even more stories of innovation and differentiation in our stores.”

For fiscal 2012, the company said it expects comparable-store sales growth in the 3% to 4% range, and total sales growth in the 7.5% to 8.5% range. The company expects earnings per share between $3.02 to $3.16.

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FINANCE

Apparel retailers see gains during a warm February

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Most apparel retailers topped Wall Street estimates in February, as rising temperatures boosted sales, while increased consumer confidence and Valentine’s Day also helped boost spending, according to the Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index.

The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index, which tracks 21 companies reporting Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to rise 4.8%, beating last year’s 4% advance. Big winners in February included Limited Brands, as the operator of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works reported a same-store sales rise of 8%, beating Wall Street’s expected 6.2% gain.

Gap Inc. surprised on Thursday, reported a 4% same-store sales rise in February, above analysts’ expected 1.4% drop. By banner, same-store sales rose 12% at Banana Republic, 5% at Old Navy and 1% at namesake stores. Total sales rose 7% to $874 million.

Zumiez and The Buckle posted stellar results among the specialty apparel category as well. Zumiez saw same-store sales rise 14.2%, tromping an expected 5.1% gain. The Buckle recorded a 14.8% same-store sales gain, easily beating expectations, and demonstrating strong demand for denim, said the company.

Also during the month, Wet Seal same-store sales fell 5.8%, but still beat Wall Street expectations of a 9% decline.

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