Walmart plans LED lighting, organic foods rollout

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is making two changes this week aimed at reducing energy costs and expanding healthy food offerings with the implementation of new energy efficient lighting and the addition of Wild Oats branded natural foods.

The retailer plans to purchase energy-efficient LED ceiling lighting fixtures for new supercenters in the U.S., stores in Asia and Latin America, and Asda locations in the United Kingdom. The new fixtures will use 40 percent less energy than lighting sources historically used in stores.

Walmart said that sales-floor lighting accounts for roughly 90 percent of the total lighting usage in each store. The new lighting system will contribute to a 20 percent drop in kilowatt hour (kWh) per square foot of energy required to power Walmart stores globally by 2020. Furthermore, the lights have a longer life span than standard lighting fixtures and therefore also offer savings in maintenance costs.

To put the energy savings in perspective, Walmart said the energy reductions over the next 10 years will be equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 68,000 passenger vehicles or the energy use of nearly 30,000 American homes for one year. This represents an annual savings of up to $34,000 per store. 

The full LED lighting rollout will be complete by 2016.

Not only is Walmart planning on saving costs on energy, but the company is also helping shoppers save on healthy food options. The retailer has formed a partnership with food company Wild Oats that will expand its selection of organic groceries at 2,000 stores starting this month. Walmart said the nearly 100 new Wild Oats products will be sold at prices at least 25 percent lower than comparable national organic brands sold in its stores.

Wild Oats offerings will vary by store as Walmart explores what items shoppers want to buy. If the initial rollout goes well, the company plans to offer the line in all its U.S. stores, as well as online at

The Wild Oats brand was originally launched in 1987 as the private label brand of the Colorado-based retail chain. Wild Oats ultimately grew to more than 100 locations before being sold to Whole Foods Markets (NYSE:WFM) in 2007, although the acquisition was ultimately scrapped by the SEC.

The rebranded line at Walmart will feature products under three names: Wild Oats Marketplace Organic, which follows U.S.D.A. guidelines for organic certification for things like canned vegetables and spices; Wild Oats Marketplace, for things like ready-to-prepare skillet meals; and Wild Oat Marketplace Originals.

For more:
-See this Walmart press release
-See this New York Times article

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