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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Two states accounted for nearly 30% of grocery store openings last year

BY Marianne Wilson

The Lone Star State and Golden State are ripe areas for grocery store expansion.

In 2016, more than 440 grocery stores opened in the United States, adding 18.8 million sq. ft. of space. And 27% of those stores opened in two states: Texas and California.

That’s according to JLL’s latest Grocery Tracker JLL’s latest Grocery explores four trends transforming the grocery shopping sector.

After Texas and California, the next three largest states in terms of new grocery store space were North Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, which each accounted for 5% of total space delivered in 2016.

Aldi and Grocery Outlet dominated California, while Kroger and H-E-B continued their push into the Texas market. Overall, Aldi and Whole Foods were the biggest movers in the sector, opening the most stores by count.

“In 2016, new grocery stores openings were slightly above average, thanks to grocers expanding their presence in California and Texas,” said James Cook, director of retail research, JLL. “I expect the number of new grocery stores opening their doors to be slightly less this year, but we will see an uptick again in 2018 as Lidl makes a strong push along the East Coast.”

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POS/PAYMENTS

Visa lets customers pay — with sunglasses

BY CSA STAFF

The payment company hopes its newest wearables concept will have a bright future.

Visa unveiled a prototype for payment-enabled sunglasses on Monday, March 13, simultaneously at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, and the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro surf competitions in Gold Coast, Australia, according to CNBC.

As shoppers take off the sunglasses, which are embedded with a small contactless card, they can tap them on a Visa near field communication (NFC) enabled terminal, and electronically pay for merchandise.

Visa launched the test to gauge interest among the public and banks that might want to sponsor the product, the report said.

Click here to read more.

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ENERGY/HVAC

Home furnishings giant plugs in another fuel cell system

BY Marianne Wilson

Ikea continues to grow its U.S. renewable energy portfolio, with a goal of being energy independent by 2020.

The retailer has completed installation of its fifth biogas-powered fuel cell system in California – and in the country – at its East Palo Alto location in the San Francisco Bay area.

Expanding the Swedish company’s investment in fuel cell technology, the project complements the company’s focus on other renewable energies such as solar and wind. With the East Palo Alto fuel cell system installed, commissioned and operational, Ikea is on track to generate 1.5 MW in total of energy via fuel cells, supplementing onsite solar arrays atop all these stores.

“Plugging-in this fuel cell system is an exciting milestone that complements our existing rooftop solar array,” said Monica Varela, store manager. “Utilizing fuel cells will reduce our carbon footprint and help create an even more sustainable community here in the Bay Area.”

Slightly larger than the physical size of a commercial back-up generator, the 300-kw, biogas-powered project will produce approximately 2,630,452 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 1,193 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 252 cars or to providing electricity for 176 homes yearly.

Combined with the 302-kW solar array installed atop the store in 2011, the fuel cell project will help generate a majority of the store’s energy onsite.

For the design, development and installation of this fuel cell system, Ikea contracted Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy, a provider of solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power.

Ikea’s U.S. sustainable efforts are wide ranging and include the following: recycling waste material; incorporating key measures into buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, warehouse skylights, and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, no plastic bags in the check-out process, and selling only LED lighting.

In addition, it has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 16 stores and solar arrays at 90% of its locations, integrated two geothermal projects at two store locations and owns two wind farms.

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