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Supervalu, Walgreens sign on to Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private-sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.

As many as 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders on Friday committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion sq. ft. of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings. This included retailers Kohl’s, Supervalu and Walgreens. Best Buy made its commitment in June.

The commitments were announced by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, along with representatives from more than 60 organizations as part of the Better Buildings Challenge. The challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative, launched in February by President Obama, and is spearheaded by former President Clinton and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to support job creation by catalyzing private-sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades to make America’s buildings 20% more efficient over the next decade, reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20% of all the energy used by the U.S. economy.
 
“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now," Obama said. Coupled with a $2 billion in energy efficiency upgrades across all federal agencies "today’s extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step towards the competitive, clean energy economy it will take to win the future,” Obama said.

“Reducing our energy footprint and creating a more thoughtful and sustainable operation are important priorities, and we will continue to test innovative ways to build our stores with future generations in mind,” Supervalu president and CEO Craig Herkert said. “These projects are good for the environment, improve our operating efficiency and create jobs — ultimately benefiting the communities we serve.”

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Stop & Shop acquires three Staten Island, N.Y.-based King Kullen stores

BY Allison Cerra

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Stop & Shop has entered a definitive agreement to acquire three stores, located in Staten Island, N.Y., from supermarket chain King Kullen.

"Stop & Shop is looking forward to expanding our presence on Staten Island," said Don Sussman, division president of Stop & Shop’s N.Y. metro division. "These new locations will offer more island customers the best combination of quality, convenience and value they have come to expect from Stop & Shop."

Stop & Shop will open the 1441 Richmond Avenue and 4343 Amboy Road stores, after the sale is completed, which is subject to the customary conditions. The location at 3251 Richmond Avenue will be closed. Additional details about the store conversion process will be announced once the sale is completed.

Stop & Shop currently operates two stores on Staten Island.

"Selling our three Staten Island stores to Stop & Shop enables us to concentrate resources elsewhere within the company," King Kullen VP Thomas Cullen said. "We deeply appreciate the courtesy shown to us by Staten Island and look forward to working closely with Stop & Shop during the transition process."

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ShopperTrak: Black Friday weekend sales up, foot traffic down

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — While retail sales during the Black Friday weekend increased this year, it seems that foot traffic may have dropped, according to a new report by ShopperTrak.

According to ShopperTrak, the entire Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) realized a 1.9% sales boost, but also recorded a 1.8% decline in foot traffic, compared with the same period last year. The research firm attributed the results to more customers who shopped the Sunday before Thanksgiving than the days following Black Friday (the week leading up to Black Friday saw a 4.4% increase in sales), while both Black Saturday and Black Sunday showed year-over-year losses in retail sales and foot traffic: Black Saturday experienced a 4% decrease in sales and 9.6% decrease in foot traffic, while Black Sunday sales dropped 2% and foot traffic decreased by 9.8%.

Black Friday, as reported, did record a 6.6% sales increase over the same day last year, representing $11.4 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day, while retail foot traffic rose by 5.1% over Black Friday 2010.

“Retailers offered door-busters and other pre-holiday specials earlier in the Thanksgiving week to ensure they had the best opportunity to capture value-conscious shoppers,” ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said. “Our customers have access to real-time traffic information, and they succeeded in taking share earlier than they had in past years. As we’ve noted over the past few months, retailers who focus on converting shoppers into buyers with effective marketing, adequate staffing and a positive customer experience will be the most successful when the season ends.”

As previously reported, ShopperTrak projected five of the biggest shopping days of the season will occur in the week leading up to Christmas weekend: Dec. 17 (Super Saturday), Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. ShopperTrak also forecasts Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 26 as high sales days. Taken together, 8-of-the-10 top sales days of the year are yet to come.

“There is still a lot of time left in the holiday shopping season,” said Martin. “The most successful retailers will pay attention to foot-traffic patterns and make appropriate adjustments to convert shoppers into buyers.”

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