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Target outranks all other U.S. retailers in solar capacity

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. has knocked Walmart off its perennial top spot in an annual ranking of the U.S. companies with the most solar energy capacity.

Target now has 147.5 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s 2016 Solar Means Business report, which ranks companies based on capacity current through the third quarter of this year.

It’s the first time Target has grabbed the number one spot in the report's five-year history. The discounter has added nearly 70 MW of solar so far in 2016, more than any other U.S. retailer.

“We're incredibly proud of the progress we've made in improving building efficiencies and reducing environmental impact,” said John Leisen, VP of property management at Target. “Our commitment to installing solar panels on 500 stores and distribution centers by 2020 is evidence of that progress.”

Walmart finished close behind Target, taking the No. 2 spot with 145 MW of installed solar capacity.

“Solar plays a vital role within our renewable energy portfolio," said Mark Vanderhelm, VP of energy for Walmart. "This is evident by our 2020 commitment of doubling solar energy projects at our Walmart stores, Sam's Clubs and distribution centers across the nation. Our focus is on finding those solar projects that are right for the business.”

Other retailers in the top 10 were Costco (50.7 MW), Kohl's (50.2 MW), Ikea (44 MW), and Macy's (38.9 MW). A mall operator, General Growth Properties, also made the top 10 (30.2 MW).

"These blue-chip companies are proof that sustainability and profitability is not an either-or proposition," said SEIA's interim president Tom Kimbis. "Investing in solar is a common-sense decision that pays dividends for both the environment and companies' bottom lines and these leaders deserve a big round of applause."

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Retail centers add Amazon lockers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon shoppers will have new venues where they can pick up and return orders — local malls.

Washington Prime Group Inc. has entered into a partnership with Amazon to add self-service Amazon Lockers at 50 of its retail centers. The lockers, which are destinations where customers can pick up and return Amazon.com packages, will begin popping up as soon as next month.

“Amazon Lockers are a great example of how we are capturing the nexus between physical space and e-commerce,” said Lou Conforti, Washington Prime Group’s CEO and director. “The 'town center' positioning of WPG retail centers allow us to embrace innovation that drives shopper traffic, and enhances the overall experience of our guest.”

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Harris Teeter expands home delivery options

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Harris Teeter is no stranger to home delivery, but now more North Carolina-based shoppers can get their orders within an hour.

The grocer, a subsidiary of Kroger Co., is expanding its partnership with app-based grocery delivery service Shipt to get groceries into the hands of shoppers throughout the Charlotte metro area. The program, which was launched last year, was initially limited to the state’s Research Triangle region. This expansion extends the service to more than 50 Harris Teeter stores in the Charlotte area.

Harris Teeter shoppers use Shipt’s mobile or desktop app to browse a full selection of grocery items available across their local store, and choose a convenient one-hour delivery window. A “Shipt Shopper” visits the local store to hand-pick and deliver the items to the member as soon as one hour after the order is placed.

A $99 annual membership entitles Shipt members to unlimited grocery deliveries on all orders over $35. Shoppers that sign up for the annual service prior to the area’s launch will receive $25 in free groceries, according to a company statement.

The service augments the company’s ExpressLane program, Harris Teeter’s subscription-based online ordering service that enables shoppers to order groceries online, and have them delivered or pick them up in-store. Since same-day deliveries are limited, ExpressLane orders placed for same day delivery require four-hour advance notice, and must be placed before 3 p.m., according to Harris Teeter’s website.

“With Shipt, Harris Teeter is able to expand its delivery options beyond its current ExpressLane delivery,” said Danna Robinson, the grocer’s communication manager. “Shoppers now have a choice in how they get their groceries delivered to their doorstep.”

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