Wal-Mart to open eco-friendly superstore

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart has announced the opening of its second generation high-efficiency prototype store. The store is designed to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and uses 25 percent less energy than a typical Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Some components of the new eco-friendly store are: 100 percent integrated water-source format heating, cooling and refrigeration system—in which water is used to heat and cool the building—recycled construction materials (such as fly-ash, slag, integrally colored concrete floors and plastic baseboards and chair rails) and sensor-activated low-flow bathroom faucet and waterless urinals.

Added conveniences for consumers include an eye-care center and a two-lane drive-through pharmacy for prescriptions on-the-go.

The new store, the first of four expected to open this year, will offer 400 jobs to the area, the company stated.

“We’ve taken the most efficient prototype in the retail industry and made it even better by incorporating some of the most innovative products in building today,” said Eric Zorn, president, Wal-Mart Realty. “We hope to continue making our stores even more efficient and sharing our learnings with the world, as we work toward a more sustainable future for our company and our customers.”

In other Wal-Mart news, vice chairman John Menzer is set to end his 12-year affiliation with the company on March 1, following an announcement late Friday that he planned to retire.

As a result of his departure, Menzer’s responsibilties for major support functions will move into the company’s individual businesses to achieve tighter focus, alignment and accountability, according to a prepared statement. Responsibility for the logistics and real estate divisions will be assumed by Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and ceo of Wal-Mart Stores U. S. The company's information systems division will report directly to Wal-Mart president and chief executive officer Lee Scott and vice chairman Mike Duke, who already oversees international operations, will now have responsibility for global procurement.

“John has had a tremendously successful career at Wal-Mart and I have seen first-hand the difference he has made,” Scott said. “He is probably best known for transforming Wal-Mart International into a well-organized, fast-growing and profitable business. But he is also a talented corporate strategist and I personally have found him to be a valued business counselor.”

Menzer joined Wal-Mart in 1995 as the company’s chief financial officer and in that capacity helped refocus the company on improving improving financial returns and asset productivity that had begun to slip at the company in the years prior to his arrival. In June of 1999 he was named president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart International in conjunction with Wal-Mart’s acquisition of ASDA in the United Kingdom.  In 2005, he was named vice chairman and given oversight of the U.S. Stores division.

Menzer was named “Retailer of the Year” on behalf of Wal-Mart International in 2004 by DSN Retailing Today.

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