STORE SPACES

Survey: Financial concerns driving energy management; lighting, smart building technology to play major roles going forward

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Eighty percent of building owners expect double-digit energy-price increases during the next year, causing owners to set an average energy reduction target of 12%, according to Johnson Controls’ fifth annual global Energy Efficiency Indicator survey.

The primary motivation for energy-efficiency projects remains energy cost savings, followed by government incentives and enhanced public image. Greenhouse gas reduction, which ranked as the second highest motivator in 2010, moved to fourth placed in the 2011 report. As to the most popular energy-efficiency improvements, lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and controls improvements topped the list.

“We are seeing record levels of energy management and reduction projects around the world, driven mainly by financial reasons, more than environmental concerns," said Dave Myers, VP and president of building efficiency for Johnson Controls.

Barriers to capital access ranked as the most significant obstacle for building owners when it comes to meeting their energy goals.

"This year’s survey clearly shows that there’s growing urgency in making buildings more energy efficient, and large strides have been made with the help of government incentives," Myers said. "However, building owners continue to tell us that access to capital remains the top barrier for improving energy consumption.”

The survey showed a double-digit increase in U.S./Canada building owners who believe energy management is important (66%), compared with the prior year (52%). Building owners expect lighting and smart building technology to have greater adoption rates over the next ten years than renewable energy technologies in the United States and Canada.

In addition, 77% of U.S. and Canada building owners plan to include green building elements in their facility plans in the next 12 months.

In total survey results, nearly four in 10 respondents have achieved at least one green building certification, twice as many as the prior year. An additional 32% have incorporated green building elements.

Building owners planning to pursue green building certifications for existing buildings (39%) slightly outpaced those with plans to certify new construction (35%).

The survey of nearly 4,000 building owners and operators around the world was led by Johnson Controls’ Institute for Building Efficiency, the International Facility Management Association and the Urban Land Institute.

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Supervalu puts emphasis on private label with Essential Everyday rollout

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — The private-label trend at retail continues to gain steam as Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert shared plans last month at its annual shareholders meeting to expand Supervalu’s private-label program now through February 2012.

In discussing its private brands program, Herkert said that the company expects to deliver a 100-basis point annual improvement in private-brand sales per year over the next three years. As part of its plans, the company announced that it intends to move to a new single national brand-equivalent private brand — Essential Everyday — to replace existing banner-branded products.

With the introduction of the Essential Everyday brand, which will rollout in phases, the company expects to realize savings through packaging and taking a more national approach to advertising and promotions.

Supervalu also plans to expand its Shoppers Value entry price-point private-brand line and will be launching or relaunching 80 new items in the coming months.

Sam Mayberry, VP private brands for Supervalu, told the Chicago Tribune that 94% of the company’s shoppers buy private-label items sometimes, while 20% always do. Regular purchasers, he said, "rely on private brands to make ends meet."

One of Supervalu’s long-term goals is the national expansion of its Save-A-Lot banner, and during the shareholder meeting the company also announced the addition of the Save-A-Lot Today brand to its private-label program. The new Save-A-Lot Today brand is an opening price point line with most products priced under $1.

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Profits soar at Pier 1

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — Pier 1 Imports reported a comparable-store sales increase of 10.2% andnet income of $14.1 million, or 12 cents per share, for the first quarter, as it continues to implement its three-year growth plan. For the prior year first quarter, the company reported net income of $7.7 million, or 7 cents per share.

Alex Smith, president and CEO, commented, "We are very pleased with the results of our first quarter. We continue to see strength and sustainability in all aspects of our business – top line sales growth, strong merchandise margins, prudent cost controls, operating margin improvement, a strong balance sheet and ongoing cash generation. All have benefited from the creativity and rigor embedded in our organization. We are reinvesting into the business and initializing our share repurchase program as cash continues to be generated."

Total sales for the first quarter were $334.6 million, a 9.3% increase from $306.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

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