Home improvement giant in big commitment to wind power
On a wind farm near McAllen, Texas, with windmills that stand taller from tip to base than the Statue of Liberty, Home Depot is harvesting enough electricity to power 100 Home Depot stores.
The juice is flowing because of the Atlanta-based retailer’s deal with EDP Renewables North America, a deal that marks Home Depot’s first major investment in a wind-powered renewable energy project. The company says that in addition to supplying power to 100 stores, the deal provides $150,000 in local community benefits.
[For more on the Home Depot's wind-harvesting project, click here.]
The Los Mirasoles Wind Farm, operated by EDP, is in Hidalgo and Starr Counties. Through a 20-year power purchase agreement, Home Depot’s annual purchase of 50 megawatts is a fifth of the wind farm’s 250 MW capacity.
The Home Depot signed on with EDP in 2016. Under the retailer’s renewable energy initiative, its goal is to procure 135 megawatts of various renewable energy sources, including wind, by the end of 2020.
In Delaware and Massachusetts, Home Depot collects energy from solar farms to the tune of 14.5 million kilowatt hours per year. Also, more than 150 stores and distribution centers use on-site fuel cells that produce about 85% of the electricity needed to power each store.
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Walmart takes direct aim at Amazon Prime’s free shipping
Walmart just upped the ante in the home shipping war against its rival, Amazon.
The chain is ending its ShippingPass program, a fee-based, two-day delivery service, in favor of a free two-day shipping program. Shoppers can now order from more than two million items, and have merchandise shipped to their homes or stores without a membership fee.
The free service is available to shoppers that hit a $35 price threshold, which is lower than Shipping Pass’ previous $50 minimum. Orders picked up at a local Walmart store do not need to meet a spending threshold.
By ending its subscription-based ShippingPass program, Walmart hopes to gain a stronger competitive edge against Amazon’s Prime program, which charges $99 annually for unlimited two-day shipping.
“We are moving at the speed of a startup,” said Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce.
“In today's world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it,” added Lore. “Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth.”
To “thank active ShippingPass subscribers” for their role in “helping to develop its two-day shipping service,” the company said it will reimburse enrolled ShippingPass shoppers.
“To all our active ShippingPass subscribers: We thank you for helping us develop our new two-day shipping offer. For participating in ShippingPass, you will receive a full refund for your ShippingPass subscription. Refunds will automatically be issued to the original form of payment within 30 days of this announcement,” Walmart’s website said.
In addition to its new two-day shipping program, Walmart will continue to offer same-day store pickup across more than 4,600 stores. It also features its online grocery pickup program at more than 600 locations across the country, and plans to expand the service in the coming year, the chain said.
This could get very interesting. Amazon has had a jump start on all things digital and have a powerhouse supply chain to procure and fulfill their customers needs. Their IT gorilla base is just that. Tour one of their fulfillment centers and you will know what I mean. Enter WalMart the king of retail since the days of Sam. Dominated retail in nearly every aspect. They certainly have a lot of catching up to do on the digital front but this looks to be a step in the right direction. If I can order online and pick up at my local walmart in a day or so they have just received another customer through their doors with potential for additional purchases.
Fred’s remains committed to buy divested Rite Aid locations
Fred’s Pharmacy confirmed its agreement to purchase divested stores remains in effect following Monday’s news that Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid extended the deadline for their potential merger agreement.
“Fred’s Pharmacy affirms that the asset purchase agreement it entered into on Dec. 19 with Walgreens and Rite Aid remains in effect. As previously disclosed, to the extent the Federal Trade Commission requests that additional stores be sold, and Walgreens agrees to sell such stores, Fred’s Pharmacy has agreed to buy those stores. The amendment and extension of the Walgreens-Rite Aid merger agreement reinforces the Company’s confidence that the transaction is in the mutual best interest of Fred’s Pharmacy and all of its shareholders. Fred’s Pharmacy continues to work with the FTC, Rite Aid and Walgreens to complete the transaction, and looks forward to realizing the considerable benefits the transaction will bring to customers, patients, payors, supplier partners, team members and shareholders,” Fred’s said in a statement.
Fred’s initially agreed to purchase 865 divested Rite Aid stores once the Walgreens-Rite Aid deal was completed. However, this number could go higher, with the chance the FTC requires up to 1,200 stores be divested. Per terms of the agreement, Fred’s is expected to buy all of the necessary divested stores, and would become the third-largest drug store retailer in terms of stores.
Memphis-based Fred’s and its subsidiaries currently operates 647 general merchandise stores and three specialty pharmacy-only locations in 15 Southeastern states.
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