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Smaller Box, Big Savings

BY Marianne Wilson

Smaller-box retailers that still question the value of energy management should consider this: Family Dollar has reduced its energy consumption by an average of 22% per store since implementing an Internet-based energy management system.

The fast-growing discounter currently operates more than 6,800 Surveyor systems from Venstar, Chatsworth, Calif., in 44 stores and will install the systems in an additional 300 stores in fiscal 2011. The solution allows the chain to remotely monitor, control and manage its heating, air-conditioning and lighting/electrical systems. It also provides detailed reporting along with real-time live views into stores’ energy usage that help Family Dollar be proactive in managing its stores.

“Surveyor gives us unprecedented visibility into our stores, providing business intelligence about our energy usage,” said Marilyn M. Morse, VP facilities management, Family Dollar Stores, Matthews, N.C.

On average, Family Dollar stores range from 7,500 sq. ft. to 9,500 sq. ft. and are mostly operated in leased facilities. Lighting is divided into four zones: work, sales, sign and site. Most locations have total peak loads of 20 kW to 60 kW.

Morse and her team evaluated about 12 different energy management systems before selecting Venstar’s Surveyor. It came out on top in all the categories in which the systems were rated, including hardware, software, customer service, ease of use, technical support and company financials. Most important to Morse: Surveyor was designed specifically for small-box retailers like Family Dollar. Another key selling point was that the system could easily be customized to meet the chain’s specific needs.

Most of all, Morse was confident that Surveyor could help Family Dollar meet its goal of providing a comfortable environment for its customers and team members.

Using Surveyor and the Internet via her desktop computer, one Family Dollar project manager—Erin DeBerardinis—manages and controls the energy use for the entire chain. She can track usage by store, region, types of stores or virtually any other parameter (she can also manage outdoor lighting at the locations where it applies).

Because of the system’s reporting capabilities, DeBerardinis knows when and where anomalies in energy use occur and is able to respond immediately and arrange repairs or replacements of malfunctioning HVAC units or lighting equipment. And while the system has automated scheduling features, she is also able to make changes on the fly as needed.

Surveyor allows designated executives and divisional maintenance managers at Family Dollar to know the energy usage at their stores by sending them daily e-mail reports. Each week, Family Dollar’s five divisional store operations VPs also receive reports on energy consumption.

The system’s exception reporting also alerts the executives to stores that are unusually warm or cold. If needed, the divisional maintenance managers can proactively arrange repairs for the broken or malfunctioning HVAC equipment. Surveyor also gives Family Dollar’s security team a heads up if lights are unexpectedly turned on, so they can check out the situation.

Cost Savings: Using Surveyor, Family Dollar has reduced its energy usage by an average of 22% per store within the first year of usage, saving $20 million annually. The chain realized a return on its investment in 18 months.

The system has also helped the chain become greener. The resulting energy savings has resulted in an annual CO2 reduction that is equivalent to taking more than 27,000 cars off the road.

“It’s not just about the cost savings,” Morse said. “Being a green company is very important to us. We want to make informed energy decisions that have a positive environmental impact.”

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Target launches anti-smoking campaign with American Cancer Society

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS – Target announced that it is launching a month-long anti-smoking campaign in connection with the American Cancer Society’s 2010 Great American Smokeout to support guests and team members in their efforts to quit smoking.

"Target is committed to helping our guests and team members reach their well-being goals, which may include quitting smoking, and we’re proud to work with the American Cancer Society for this year’s Great American Smokeout," said Dr. Joshua Riff, Target’s medical director. "As part of our focus on prevention, Target offers a variety of tools, tips and products for those who want to stop smoking and stay smoke-free. This campaign advances our prevention efforts and will ultimately lead to healthier communities."

The campaign will begin on Nov. 1 and will highlight Target’s assortment of stop-smoking aids and give greater visibility to Target Pharmacy and Target Clinic healthcare professionals, who can offer support, smoking-cessation materials and advice, the company reported. The campaign is anchored by in-store signing and informational brochures in all Target stores, as well as features in the weekly ad and at Target.com.

The American Cancer Society’s 35th annual Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 18, and is designed to motivate and empower smokers with personalized tools, tips and support to help them quit for good.

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B&N launches parents’ loyalty program

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK – Barnes & Noble announced the launch of the B&N Kids’ Club (www.bn.com/kidsclub), a free loyalty and rewards program for Barnes & Noble parents and caregivers. The B&N Kids’ Club is an in-store and online program that provides exclusive benefits along with savings and discounts on Barnes & Noble’s outstanding selection of children’s books and educational toys and games.

When customers sign-up for the B&N Kids’ Club they will be welcomed with a 30% off coupon to use on a future purchase of children’s books, educational toys and games, and adult games and puzzles, the company reported. Kids’ Club members will also receive a $5 coupon for every $100 they spend on children’s books and toys up to four times per year.

“Barnes & Noble is committed to being a valuable resource for parents,” said Jaime Carey, chief merchandising officer for Barnes & Noble. “Our recently launched B&N Kids’ Expert Circle and our newly expanded Educational Toys & Games section in stores and online reflects our dedication to helping parents choose the best products and receive meaningful advice about all the stages of raising children. B&N Kids’ Club is our way of saying thank you for continuing to trust Barnes & Noble.”

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