Supervalu launches fleet of natural gas-powered trucks out of Virginia
MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — Supervalu on Friday announced a new fleet of environmentally-friendly delivery trucks that operate on compressed natural gas. Contributing to a smaller carbon footprint across the East Coast, the recent purchase of 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks will operate out of Supervalu’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and serve approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina.
“Our decision to transition to natural-gas-powered trucks is in keeping with Supervalu’s long-standing commitment to do business in a sustainable manner,” said Mike Lech, VP logistics for Supervalu’s Eastern Region. “This project is not only good for the environment, but also for the bottom line, as each natural-gas-powered truck will cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fuel usage for our fleet. We’re proud of this effort and the many great partners who helped make it a reality.”
According to Supervalu, it’s the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.
To power the new trucks, Trillium CNGTM, a leading provider of compressed natural gas fueling solutions, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at Supervalu’s Mechanicsville distribution center. The conversion to natural gas will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than 1 million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits, the new CNG fleet and fast-fill station is expected to reduce Supervalu’s operating costs given the lower cost of compressed natural gas.
Utilizing Trillium’s high-performance, fast-fill hydraulic intensifier, the new station can fuel trucks at a rate of eight to 10 gallons per minute.
The fill station is the first of two Trillium stations planned in the Richmond, Va., area. The second is under construction at GRTC Transit System, the public transit agency jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, and is expected to be operational in three to four months. By the end of the second quarter 2014, Trillium CNG will be operating 81 CNG stations nationwide, with 54 of them having public access.
The new trucks and Mechancisville fast-fill station were officially unveiled Friday at a ceremony attended by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, as well as several local and company officials.
Kroger to tie loyalty card program to personalized charitable giving
CINCINNATI — In an effort to engender even greater shopper loyalty, Kroger has tied its loyalty card to the charity of a consumer’s choice, according to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"By the end of next year, most Kroger divisions will contribute to a combined $50 million that will be given to schools and other nonprofits based on local shoppers’ charitable preferences and their shopping habits," the report reads. "Kroger’s Community Rewards program will account for one-fifth of the grocer’s total $250 million-a-year charitable activity."
Loyalty card holders identify their favorite local charity online from a list of nonprofits compiled by Kroger. Kroger cuts a quarterly check to those nonprofits in proportion to the amount of products purchased by each shopper.
Thanksgiving holiday dollar volume growth outpaced Black Friday growth, analysis finds
ATLANTA — Holiday shopping got a big boost during Thanksgiving weekend, and most of the growth came from shopping on Thanksgiving itself rather than Black Friday, according to a new report.
First Data Corp., a payment processing company, released the SpendTrend report Friday, based on its tracking of same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debt, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks. The report found 9% growth over last year, compared with last year’s 5.6% growth over 2011; by contrast, Black Friday spending growth was 3.4%.
"In addition to promotions and early openings, we saw many retailers make it even easier for customers to shop by providing a seamless integration of in-store, online and mobile initiatives that allowed shoppers to buy products wherever and whenever," First Data SVP information and analytics solutions Krish Mantripragada said. "While the start of the holiday spending season was robust, merchants will continue to monitor shoppers to see if they can sustain the spending growth through the holiday season."
The high growth on Thanksgiving itself may vindicate some retailers’ decisions to open on Thanksgiving. Many retailers took heavy criticism from consumers for opening on Thanksgiving, while those that didn’t often made a point to tell shoppers they would be closed for the holiday.
Average ticket growth for retailers was 3.8%, compared with last year’s 1.9% growth over 2011, and overall transaction growth was 4.9%, with most of that coming from shopper foot traffic on Thanksgiving. Black Friday transaction growth was 2.2%.