STORE SPACES

Walmart ups commitment to solar power

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is moving closer to its renewable energy goal.

Walmart said it has reached an agreement with SunPower to have the commercial energy provider install solar systems at 19 stores and two distribution centers in Illinois.

As part of the project, a mix of rooftop and ground-mount solar systems are expected to account for 23 megawatts, with start of construction targeted for the first half of 2019.

Walmart is financing the projects through a power purchase agreement (PPA) arranged by SunPower that allows Walmart to buy power at competitive prices and hedge against future utility rate increases with no upfront capital costs. Walmart will own the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

The new deployments will move Walmart closer to its 2025 goal of supplying its global operations with 50% renewable energy. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the amount of anticipated annual carbon offset by this initiative will be equal to the amount of carbon sequestered by over 24,000 acres of U.S. forest in one year.

“Solar is a vital component of Walmart’s expanding renewable energy portfolio,” said Mark Vanderhelm, VP of energy for Walmart Inc. “Walmart plans to tirelessly pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business and the environment. These planned projects with SunPower are moving us in the right direction toward our renewable energy goals.”

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STORE SPACES

Bedding company in store expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Tempur Sealy International is expanding its retail footprint.

The company has opened its 38th store, a Tempur-Pedic flagship in Roseville, Calif. An additional flagship is on track to open in the next few weeks, in Albuquerque, N.M., which is home to one of Tempur’s state-of-the-art production facilities. A 40th store is scheduled to open before the end of the year.

More stores are in the works. Tempur Sealey is targeting 60 to 80 company-owned locations by the end of 2019. The company is currently evaluating a number of markets and properties, and is in active negotiations with landlords of certain locations previously occupied by Mattress Firm, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

“The expansion of our company-owned Tempur-Pedic retail stores supports our long-term objective to ensure that our products are properly represented in all channels in order to support how, and where, the consumer wishes to experience and purchase our products,” said Scott Thompson, chairman, president and CEO, Tempur Sealy International. “Our Tempur-Pedic flagship locations have complemented our existing distribution channels by increasing brand awareness in local markets, with highly-trained brand ambassadors that provide consumers a best-in-class, educational experience in a very low-pressure sales environment.”

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Dental concept expanding its retail format

BY Marianne Wilson

Invisalign is setting up shop — sorta — in the nation’s retail centers.

Align Technology, famous for its Invisalign clear aligner orthodontics, is expanding its “brand experience” initiative with plans to open eight locations at malls or outdoor lifestyle centers in major U.S. cities in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Align centers are designed to provide an interactive environment where consumers can learn about the Invisalign treatment and connect with Invisalign doctors in their communities. The locations do not directly sell the treatment.

“Doctors have always been essential to Invisalign treatment, and 21 years later, a doctor’s prescription based on an in-person examination remains the only way to deliver Invisalign treatment to a patient, even if a consumer learns about the Invisalign brand through new or different ways,” said Joe Hogan, president and CEO, Align Technology.

According to Hogan, there are more than 300 million consumers around the world who can benefit from Invisalign treatment, but most aren’t actively seeking orthodontic treatment.

“To reach those consumers, we need to connect with them where they spend their time online and offline – and Invisalign Experience locations are a new way to do that,” he said.

Align piloted the concept last year, opening four locations. The company said it found that the locations can have a significant positive impact, or “halo effect,” on overall Invisalign patient growth in the surrounding area.

The Invisalign experience spaces are designed to educate, with interactive touchscreens and store associates that provide customized about Invisalign treatment and the benefits of straightening their teeth. Consumers are also offered a complimentary, intraoral 3D scan and a visual simulation of what the person’s smile might look like after Invisalign treatment.

“When we first launched the interactive Invisalign Experience pilot program, we thought of these locations as ‘stores’ because we were leveraging familiar retail environments,” said Jennifer Olson Wilk, Align senior VP, doctor-directed consumer channel. “But we’ve learned a lot over the past year and the fact that we’re not selling orthodontic treatment directly to consumers is really important for us to emphasize. We’re providing a brand experience that informs and engages consumers with Invisalign treatment options in hopes they will choose to start treatment after we connect them to a local doctor’s office.”

Here is a list of Invisalign’s upcoming locations:

• October 2018: Woodlands Mall, The Woodlands, Texas
• October 2018: Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie, Illinois
• November 2018: Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale, Arizona
• November 2018: Park Meadows, Denver, Colorado
• November 2018: Stonebriar Centre, Frisco, Texas
• December 2018: The Domain, Austin, Texas
• December 2018: Town Center at Boca Raton, Boca Raton, Florida
• December 2018: Natick Mall, Natick, Massachusetts

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