STORE SPACES

Supervalu steps up to the efficient buildings challenge

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Supervalu announced that it has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, which aims to engage building operators nationwide in improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. The announcement was made by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton during a leadership event attended by Craig Herkert, Supervalu CEO and president, this morning in Washington, D.C.

“Reducing our energy footprint and creating a more thoughtful and sustainable operation are important priorities, and we will continue to test innovative ways to build our stores with future generations in mind,” said Herkert. “These projects are good for the environment, improve our operating efficiency and create jobs — ultimately benefiting the communities we serve.”

Supervalu has invested $20 million in energy efficiency initiatives this year alone resulting in more than 1,300 projects across its enterprise.

In order to achieve its energy and carbon reduction goals, and support its commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge, Supervalu said it will continue to invest in innovative energy efficiency projects.

Supervalu said it has been working over the past five years to reduce total carbon emissions by 10% and landfill waste by 50% and is on track to reach those milestones by the end of 2012.

One of Supervalu’s projects is the nation’s first low-carbon, ammonia refrigeration system at an Albertsons store it is remodeling in Carpinteria, Calif.

Since 2008, Supervalu has completed 4,500 energy reduction projects.

“I am honored to attend today’s event and thrilled at our ongoing efforts around environmental stewardship,” said Herkert. “We appreciate the leadership shown by the Obama Administration and the Clinton Global Initiative and are committed to leading our industry through ongoing investments in projects that create energy efficient stores, offices and distribution centers.”

The Better Buildings Challenge is a leadership initiative launched in February by President Obama. It is spearheaded by former President Clinton and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to support job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades to make America’s buildings 20% more efficient over the next decade, reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion.

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REAL ESTATE

Dollar General to target food deserts with its DG Market concept

BY Michael Johnsen

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General on Monday told analysts the company plans to open 40 DG Market concepts in 2012 in both new and existing markets based on the success of the concept.

"The results of the DG Market remodels we have completed to date and the early success of our five DG Market stores in Las Vegas are very encouraging," Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling told analysts Monday morning. "We introduced our updated general market banner in Nevada and these stores are performing well above our initial expectations. These are our first new Dollar General Markets since early 2007 and we’re excited about introducing the concept into new markets."

DG Market stores offer a wider variety of dry groceries and perishables, in addition to the general merchandise selections at a typical Dollar General store.

DG Markets have average annual sales of $4 million to $5 million, versus the $1.4 million across the regular formats, according to David Tehle, Dollar General CFO and executive VP. "The raw margin dollars and profit margin dollars that we get out of a DG Market is very impressive. Now, the mix is more consumable so the margin percent is somewhat lower but again the dollars, the raw dollars we get because of the volume is very impressive," he said. "We also think there’s an opportunity in smaller markets that are what we call food deserts to add tremendous volume where we can go into a town that really needs a DG Market and get a lot of volume and get a lot of market share. That’s really the way we’re playing the DG Market."

"We believe the DG Market concept is well positioned to serve food deserts in both rural and metro areas and reinforces DG’s heritage of serving the underserved," Dreiling added.

Companywide, Dollar General also is looking to further expand its cooler presence. Currently, new stores are opening with 14 to 16 coolers and the company will be installing four additional cooler doors in approximately 1,200 existing locations to better serve their "time conscious customer."

"Fresh and refrigerated foods helped us drive customer traffic and increase basket size by serving a greater share of our customers’ needs," Dreiling said.

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FINANCE

At Lowe’s investor’s conference, the focus is growth

BY Ken Clark

Mooresville, N.C. — At its annual conference in Mooresville, N.C., held Tuesday, Lowe’s executives are prepared to talk growth and the transformation from retailer to a "home improvement company."

“We are in the process of transforming Lowe’s from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company — a company committed to delivering better customer experiences across the entire home improvement spectrum, by pulling together the best combination of possibilities, support and value for customers wherever and whenever they choose to engage," said CEO Robert Niblock in a prepared statement. "By enhancing our customer experience, we will drive long-term sales growth, increase profitability and enhance shareholder value."

During the investor conference, senior Lowe’s executives will focus on the strategic investments and critical decisions made in 2011, according to the company.

Lowe’s also revealed its fiscal year 2011 guidance, which includes:

  • Total sales expected to increase 2% to 3%, including the 53rd week of the year;
  • Comparable-store sales decline about 1%; and
  • Store openings totaling about 25 stores in 2011.
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