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Wal-Mart Launches Green Jobs Council

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced Tuesday it has established a partnership with its leading sustainability suppliers to facilitate creation of green jobs in the United States.

The new Wal-Mart Green Jobs Council is comprised of representatives from throughout the retailer’s divisions, including store operations, real estate, logistics and sustainability, and representatives from suppliers across a variety of industries.

“We believe that creating green jobs is essential to keeping the United States competitive in the global marketplace,” said Leslie Dach, executive VP of corporate affairs and government relations for Wal-Mart.

As part of its companywide sustainability goals, Wal-Mart is committed to being supplied 100% by renewable energy, creating zero waste and selling environmentally friendly products. The company is moving toward these goals by using sustainable sourcing practices including energy efficiency, waste reduction, renewable energy and life-cycle management.

At the inaugural meeting of the Wal-Mart Green Jobs Council, participants identified their top catalysts for creating green jobs, including government policies, executive leadership for sustainability programs, and market drivers such as increased customer demand.

Top barriers identified by the group include a lack of a trained work force and lack of access to capital, especially in the current economic environment.

More than 30 suppliers participated in the inaugural meeting, including BP Solar, Dematic, General Electric, HydroPoint Data Systems, Lennox, ReCold, Schneider Electric, SwissLog, Systecon, Thermastor and Zurn.

Wal-Mart plans to convene its next Green Jobs Council meeting in Washington, D.C., in early 2009.

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Cyber Monday savings extended at Walmart.com

BY CSA STAFF

BRISBANE, Calif. Walmart.com announced that it will extend its “Cyber Monday” savings through Dec. 1. The retailer is offering up to 30% savings on top brands like Samsung, Garmin, Nintendo Wii and Fisher-Price.

“It’s important to help our customers get the most out of their Christmas budgets this year, and we’re doing just that with up to 30 percent savings on more than 150 Cyber Week online specials,” said Raul Vazquez, Walmart.com ceo. “Once again, we’re helping customers save even more by extending these online specials all week long and making many available for free shipping with Site to Store and 97-cent shipping to home.”

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November comps may decline double digits

BY CSA STAFF

It should come as a surprise to no one that the monthly sales figures Target is set to release this Thursday are not expected to be good. The company said in early November it expected same-store sales to decline between 6% and 9%, after a decline of 4.8% in October. The company also appeared to lower expectations further on Nov. 17, when it released third-quarter financial results and cfo Doug Scovanner commented that sales were trending lower than that company had expected. Now, some analysts are forecasting that Target could actually see same-store sales dip into negative double digits.

Target won’t be alone when it reports weak November sales, but the headline number will appear much worse than it actually is due to this year’s late Thanksgiving holiday and a shift in the retail reporting calendar.

This year, Thanksgiving fell on fell on Nov. 27 and Target’s four week reporting period ended on Nov. 29, so the company missed out on holiday sales that would normally be included in its results when Thanksgiving falls earlier in the month. That was the case last year when Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22 and the reporting period ended on Nov. 30. As a result, the company benefitted from sales that took place over the Thanksgiving weekend and holiday shopping that took place the following week that was reflected in November results. Target’s November results this year, while not expected to be good, will appear even worse since post-Thanksgiving holiday sales will be reflect in December results.

Although the monthly results will attract a lot of interest from the media this year, nuances of the retail reporting calendar tend to get lost in the shuffle and month-to-month shifts matter little since they even out over the course of a quarter. However, given all of the turmoil taking place in the economy and dire predictions of weak holiday sales, a lack of understanding of the quirky retail reporting calendar will lead to sales results that appear artificially weak.

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