Personnel Update:
Aaron’s announced that Charlie Loudermilk, who founded the rent-to-own giant 57 years ago, has retired as the company’s chairman and is now Chairman Emeritus.  Aaron’s has not yet named a new chairman.
Carter Lumber announced that the company has hired Harry Streyle as a District Manager.
Jerome’s Furniture announced that Phil Kenney has joined the company as COO.
Jeld-Wen announced that Exec VP and CFO Neil Stuart has resigned.
Tractor Supply Companyannounced that Steve Barbarick has been promoted to Exec VP Merchandising. 
Mergers and Acquisitions:
Interline Brands, Inc. announced the completion of its acquisition by affiliates of Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (“GS Capital Partners”)and P2 Capital Partners, LLC (“P2 Capital Partners” or “P2″).
Mattress Firm announced its second major acquisition of the year by agreeing to buy Florida-based Mattress X-Press.  Mattress Firm said the 35 Mattress X-Press stores in Georgia and South Florida have been converted to Mattress Firm locations.  Mattress Firm’s management feels the acquisition furthers its market-leading position in South Florida and complements the company’s earlier acquisition of Mattress Giant stores in the same markets. 
Industry Insight:
HD Supply Repair and Remodel, a California chain of pro-oriented retail warehouses, opened its newest location in Santa Ana. This will be Repair & Remodel’s eighth store in the greater Los Angeles area and its 11th store in California.
Menards is planning to open a 162,320-sq.-ft. store in St. Peters, Mo., this coming spring.  Menards is also building units in two nearby cities in Illinois.
Orchard Supply Hardwareopened its first store with its new format prototype at the site of a former Kmart store.  This marks the company’s 89th store in the state of California.  The layout is based on a race-track configuration, which maximizes traffic flow and helps the customer find items quickly. The store also features an expanded and centralized customer-service area.
Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. has added two California stores to its rollout of a new neighborhood format, with the grand re-openings of a pair of stores in the company’s hometown of San Jose.  Both stores have been operational for years, but the company said that the reformatting is so significant that they would be marked by grand re-opening celebrations.
Rooms To Go opened two new store including its first Virginia location.  The second store opened in Fayetteville, N.C.
Green Initiatives/Sustainability:
Ikea has officially plugged in its largest U.S. rooftop solar installation to date, at its store in Round Rock, Texas. When combined with Ikea projects atop stores in Houston and Dallas-area Frisco, the new installation also makes Ikea the largest solar owner in Texas.
The 273,700-sq.-ft. PV array in Round Rock consists of a 1,633-kW system, built with 6,664 panels. It will produce approximately 2,398,500 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,822 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 324 cars or powering 206 homes yearly. Ikea contracted with REC Solar for the development, design and installation of the system.  
The installation represents the 33rd completed solar project for Ikea in the U.S. The chain currently has six more solar deployments locations underway, which will make the eventual U.S. solar presence of Ikea nearly 89% of its U.S. locations with a total generation of 38 MW. Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings. 
More than 250,000 solar panels have been installed on Ikea stores and buildings across the world. The company also owns and/or operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.
Lowe’s Companies has been awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highest honors for industry leadership in its WaterSense and SmartWay programs. Lowe’s received the 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award for its environmental performance in the freight transportation industry. The EPA named Lowe’s the 2012 WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year for its efforts to educate consumers about water-efficient products and practices.  Lowe’s is the first retailer to win a WaterSense award in four consecutive years and the only retail shipper partner to win four consecutive SmartWay Excellence Awards.
Lowe’s, a WaterSense partner since 2008, continues to expand efforts in stores, online and throughout local communities to increase awareness of the WaterSense brand and help consumers improve the overall efficiency of their homes. The EPA honored Lowe’s and four other partners of the year Thursday in Las Vegas. Lowe’s received recognition for employee training and national efforts that included supporting the Wasting Water Is Weird campaign to promote water conservation.  
Lowe’s conservation strategies and continued contributions to the transportation industry also were honored in Las Vegas. To earn the 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award, Lowe’s implemented initiatives that resulted in reduced emissions and less overall highway congestion. Nearly 3,000 partners participate in the SmartWay Transport Partnership. Lowe’s is one of only two companies, and the only retailer, ever to receive four consecutive awards.
Since becoming a SmartWay partner in 2005, Lowe’s has collaborated with carriers to reduce emissions and adopt innovative technology while increasing its use of more fuel-efficient modes of transport, such as rail. The EPA program has helped Lowe’s carriers reduce highway travel by 560 million miles and resulted in diesel fuel savings of more than 100 million gallons and carbon savings of 1.2 million tons.