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Fresh & Easy seeks to reduce water consumption by 30%

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy is seeking to reduce its water consumption with the help of a water-conditioning technology currently utilized by 37 of its stores.

The EnviroTower can reduce Fresh & Easy’s water consumption from 850,000 gallons to 600,000 gallons. EnviroTower provides a more reliable, effective and economical alternative to traditional chemical water treatment for refrigeration and air conditioning cooling systems, Fresh & Easy said. The supermarket chain said it will roll out this energy-saving technology to all of its 150-plus stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.

“Incorporating EnviroTower’s technology into our stores makes sense, not just as part of our commitment to the environment, but also to help us save money so we can keep our prices low for our customers,” said Steve Hagen, Fresh & Easy director of procurement and engineering. “Conserving water is a very important issue in California, Nevada and Arizona. We are happy to play our part in reducing our consumption of this valuable and limited resource.”

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99 Cents Only sees Q1 sales, earnings boost

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — 99 Cents Only Stores reported that sales for the first quarter increased by 4.6% to $336.6 million and same-store sales increased 2.7%. Consolidated net income increased by $7.3 million to $16.8 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, versus $9.5 million in the prior year, or 14 cents per diluted share.

Eric Schiffer, CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores, stated, "For our second quarter of fiscal 2011, ending on Sept. 25, which is typically our most challenging quarter due to seasonal factors, we expect low single digit same-store sales and are targeting a 20% improvement in pre-tax profit margin compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2010. In addition to the seasonal factors that cause the September quarter to be less profitable than the June quarter, we expect higher freight costs versus last year’s second quarter and furthermore, we are investing in a store level merchandise ordering system, and will incur training and learning costs as we complete the roll out of phase one of this system to our stores this quarter.

"For fiscal 2011 we expect positive same-store sales in the low single digits and plan to open approximately 5% more stores in our existing markets, primarily in the second half of the year. "

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Faith Hill named Tide Loads of Hope ambassador

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Tide named five-time Grammy Award winner Faith Hill as the new ambassador for its Tide Loads of Hope program.

For nearly five years, Tide Loads of Hope has offered free laundry services to communities in the wake of major disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ike, the California wildfires and more.

“Since we launched Tide Loads of Hope, we’ve been inspired by the spirit of the communities we’ve touched. As we approach the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we continue our promise to bring back the comfort of clean clothes to those in need,” said Suzanne Watson, Tide associate marketing director. “It is the same sense of compassion that inspires Faith Hill’s charitable spirit so we could not be more thrilled that Faith Hill has chosen Tide Loads of Hope as a cause worthy of her involvement.”

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