FINANCE

Wal-Mart to expand solar-power program in Calif.

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores, as part of its commitment to accelerate and broaden its sustainability efforts, announced Wednesday it is expanding its solar-power program in California. The chain plans to add solar panels on 10 to 20 additional Wal-Mart facilities within the next 18 months. The program will be done in a power purchase agreement with BP Solar, San Francisco, which completed solar-energy systems on several Wal-Mart facilities in 2008.

The new initiative is in addition to the 18 solar arrays currently installed at Wal-Mart facilities in California. When combined, Wal-Mart’s total solar installations are expected to generate up to 32 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year, and avoid the production of more than 22,500 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions per year. The solar arrays are expected to provide 20% to 30% of each location’s total electric energy needs.

“Increasing the use of solar energy is the right thing to do for the environment and makes tremendous business sense, especially in these economic conditions,” said Kimberly Sentovich, Wal-Mart’s California regional general manager. “Thanks to Governor Schwarzenegger’s leadership, California is an excellent environment for us to grow our investment in renewable energy and help create more green jobs for America.”

Under the PPA agreement, BP will finance, install and maintain the solar systems for Wal-Mart, which will have no upfront capital costs. The chain will purchase the clean energy produced by the system.

“BP Solar has been a great partner, and we look forward to accelerating our efforts to utilize more affordable renewable energy in our operations,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, VP energy, Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart said it will evaluate the feasibility of expanding the program to additional sites once construction of the newly announced sites nears completion. The company plans to take into account a variety of factors, including available locations, economic conditions, energy prices, as well as local, state and federal renewable-energy policies and programs.

Wal-Mart is also utilizing solar power in Puerto Rico, where the company is planning to outfit up to five stores with solar panels this year. It expects the project to expand to 22 stores in the next five years

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Glass retires from Wal-Mart board

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Former Wal-Mart president and CEO David Glass has chosen not to stand for re-election to the company’s board of directors at Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders’ meeting on June 5.

Glass joined Wal-Mart as EVP finance in 1976, was elected to its board a year later and named president in 1984. He succeeded the company’s founder Sam Walton as president and CEO in January 1988 and remained in that position until retiring in January 2000.

“I cannot overstate David’s contribution to our company,” said Rob Walton, chairman of the board of Wal-Mart Stores. “He established a new foundation for the company’s growth, and my dad considered him to be one of the finest retail talents he had ever met.”

Glass is credited with establishing the Wal-Mart’s first distribution center outside of Bentonville, Ark., and with computerized distribution, proving that the company’s geographic reach could be extended well beyond its home state. Glass was named vice chairman and CFO in 1982 and was instrumental in the creation of Sam’s Club a year later. He was named president and chief operating officer in 1984 and president and CEO in 1988. That year, Glass pioneered development of the first supercenter, which is now the company’s dominant retail format. Later, under Glass’ leadership, Wal-Mart became the nation’s largest retail company and made its first foray into international markets with an acquisition in Mexico.

After leaving Wal-Mart, Glass became owner of the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team and continued to serve on the Wal-Mart board, as chairman of the Executive Committee until 2006 and, most recently, as a member of the strategic planning and finance committee.

With Glass’ retirement, Wal-Mart’s board will consist of 15 directors, all of whom will stand for re-election to the board at Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders’ meeting on June 5.

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Michaels hosts Mother’s Day craft events

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas Michaels announced it will host a week of free Mother’s Day events May 2 through May 10.

The events, in all U.S. and Canada stores, will feature Michaels’ Top 5 Mother’s Day personalized projects: picture frames, decorated T-shirts, jewelry, cards and paper flower bouquets. Other workshops include keepsake corsages, keepsake plates and coupon books moms can redeem with her kids for chores and favors.

“We know families are very busy and these free workshops will give them an easy, convenient and inexpensive way to make Mother’s Day special on any budget,” said Michaels’ chief marketing officer Stuart Aitken. “Our customer survey showed that more than 90% of people said a thoughtful, handmade gift would be valued, and moms especially treasure gifts made for them by their children.”

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