Walgreens goes green with store built to LEED standards
Deerfield, Ill. Walgreens on Wednesday will celebrate the grand opening of the first drug store in Illinois designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The LEED system, developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the recognized standard for measuring a building’s sustainability quotient.
The new store, in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, features a “green roof” with plants growing on it. The roof also has a reflective white coating to help reduce heating and cooling costs. The store will save nearly 34,000 gallons of water a year with efficient water fixtures.
“It may look like a regular Walgreens from the outside, but once you take a closer look it really is green from the ground up,” said Walgreens district manager Steven DiLullo. “Customers can find informational signs inside that highlight these features so they can feel good about what we’re doing and where they shop.”
The new Walgreens is registered with the USGBC to receive LEED certification. It will be reviewed and given a specific level of certification within four-to-six months.
The store is located on a brownfield site, which was cleaned up and redeveloped for the project. During construction, 85% of the waste was diverted from landfills Coolers, freezers and exterior signs all use LED lights, reducing energy use by 50% over fluorescent lighting. It is estimated that the store will save enough electricity to power more than five homes a year. In addition, there is special parking for hybrid vehicles, bike racks and nearby public transportation. This is the second LEED-registered store that Walgreens has opened to date. The first opened in June, in Mira Mesa, Calif. In early 2010, the drug store chain will open a LEED-registered store in Normal, Ill., with two more locations to follow.
The company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint also include the use of solar-energy systems on 74 of its locations in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Oregon.
Office Depot gets organized
BOCA RATON, Fla. Office Depot announced a new assortment of plastic storage solutions available at Office Depot retail store locations nationwide and online at www.officedepot.com.
The new lineup features more than 200 different storage products from brands such as Really Useful Boxes, BankersBox, Snapware, Gracious Living, Vaultz, Snap-N-Store, Innovative Storage Designs and Iris.
Office Depot is showcasing these products in a new store set by grouping plastic storage according to size and usage and organizing corrugate storage by color-coded packaging.
“With hundreds of different storage solutions available at Office Depot, customers will be able to find a vast mix of colors, sizes, and styles to meet their needs,” said Steve Olsen, VP merchandising for Office Depot.
Improved profits result of operational discipline
Sales and profits at Target may have declined in the second quarter, but the company’s performance was better than expected, and the company’s shares were sharply higher Tuesday morning. Profits declined to $594 million from $634 million and earnings per share dropped 3.9%to 79 cents from 82 cents, but that figure handily exceeded analysts’ consensus estimate of 66 cents, thanks to margin improvement and expense control.
“Second quarter earnings were stronger than expected due to very strong operating margin in our retail segment, and credit card segment performance in line with expectations,” said Target chairman, president and chief executive officer Gregg Steinhafel. “Looking forward to the second half of the year, we are focused on initiatives to drive incremental traffic and sales in our stores while maintaining disciplined execution in both of our business segments.”
The company’s gross margin rate improved to 31.9% from 31.2% and its expense rate was reduced, which aided profits despite sales weakness. Retail sales decreased 2.7% in the second quarter to $14.6 billion from $15 billion, as a 6.2% decline in same-store sales was more than could be offset by the impact of the addition of new stores. Operating profits for Target’s retail segment declined 3.1% to slightly more than $1 billion.
Target’s credit business remains a concern, despite what the company called “improve portfolio performance.” Write-offs during the quarter totaled $304 million, a figure that was in line with the company’s expectations. Operating profits for the segment declined to $63 million from $74 million, and the allowance for doubtful accounts totaled slightly more than $1 billion, indicating a high degree of pessimism about the ability and willingness of credit customers to pay their bills in future periods.