STORE SPACES

Wal-Mart details sustainability progress in Global Responsibility Report

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Significant waste reduction and greater use of renewable energy are detailed in Walmart’s just-released fifth annual Global Responsibility Report (GRR). Entitled “Beyond 50 Years: Building a Sustainable Future,” the report highlights the chain’s global top 10 list of achievements to reduce its impact on the environment, improve efficiency in its supply chain and stores, and address social issues.

The study unveils data and progress against Walmart’s three primary sustainability goals to use 100% renewable energy; create zero waste; and sell products that sustain people and the environment. The top 10 achievements highlighted in the report include:

  • Reduced waste by 80%: Walmart prevented 80.9% of the waste generated across all U.S. operations from going to landfills. Walmart achieved this by implementing its Zero Waste Program, which consists of recycling, donating and repurposing waste. Similar efforts are under way globally. ASDA, Walmart’s U.K. operator, sends zero food waste to landfills, and Walmart stores in China and Brazil diverted 52% of operational waste from landfills.
  • Utilized 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy: The U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership program now ranks Walmart as the second-largest onsite green power generator in the United States. Renewable energy projects provide 1.1 billion kWh annually, or about 4% of electricity for Walmart buildings globally.

    In addition, Walmart purchases another 18% from the grid for a total of 22% renewable electricity as of 2010. Walmart has 180 renewable energy projects in operation or under development, which use a diversity of innovative technologies, including solar power, fuel cells, micro-wind, and offsite wind projects.

  • Nurtured diversity and inclusion: Walmart has continued to focus on making the company a workplace of opportunity. Fifty-three percent of 179,000 hourly promotions in U.S. stores were women and 200,000 female associates have been with Walmart for 10 years or longer. In the last five years in the United States, Walmart has increased female store managers by 46%.
  • Expanded locally grown produce: By the end of 2011, Walmart increased the amount of locally grown produce sold by 97%, which accounts for more than 10% of all produce sold in U.S. stores.

To read the full report, click here.

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REAL ESTATE

Best Buy announces locations of store closings

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy on Saturday announced the locations of the 50 stores that it is closing this year, including seven in California, six in Illinois and six in the company’s home state of Minnesota. The chain has already closed two locations: one in Missouri and one in Arizona.

Most of the remaining 48 stores will close by May 12, with three stores scheduled to close this summer.

On Tuesday, Best Buy said CEO Brian Dunn had resigned after the board of directors began investigating his "personal conduct." The company lost $1.7 billion in the most recent quarter, partly because of restructuring costs.

For the complete list of Best Buy store closures, click here.

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FINANCE

U.S. retail sales rise more than expected in March

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.8% in March as job gains and warmer weather encouraged more consumers to shop. The increase was below February’s 1% increase but above January’s pace.

Excluding both automotive and gasoline sales, retail sales rose 0.7%. Excluding the increase in auto sales, retail sales still rose by 0.8% in March.

Advance estimates put the total level of U.S. retail sales at a seasonally adjusted $411.1 billion for March.

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