Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tesco is Currently Selling Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs for One Penny Each in its UK Stores; Tesco Fresh & Easy USA Should Do the Same

Tesco, the United Kingdom-based international retailer and parent company of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in the USA, is currently selling energy-saving Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's) in its UK Tesco banner stores for the eye-poppingly low price of one penny each. There's a limit of four CFL's per shopper. Tesco is the UK's number one retailer and the third-largest retailer in the world.

British shoppers are flocking to Tesco stores to get their four-CFL's-for-four-cents bargain. The bulbs use far less energy--and thus result in lower electricity bills--than traditional incandescent light bulbs. CFL's also last far longer (up to five years in some cases) than incandescent bulbs And at one penny each, they are cheaper than even the most rock-bottom-priced incandescent light bulb.

CFL's also are much "greener" than the old traditional bulbs in that they not only save money on monthly electricity bills, they reduce a home owner's or users carbon footprint, since using the CFL's results in less energy use to power the lights in a home or a business.

We asked a researcher in the energy field to estimate for use how much a home owner or business would save by merely replacing four incandescent light bulbs with four CFL's (the per-person limit currently at Tesco in the UK.) He did some calculations and told us he estimates the savings would be about $2.25 per month on a monthly electricity bill by just replacing four bulbs. (We ran his numbers by another research who said they sounded about right.)

Keep in mind this savings is only for four bulbs. Count the number of light bulbs you have in your home and then do the math. It adds up. If you have 40 incandescent bulbs and replace them with 40 CFL's, the savings could be enough to buy a month's weeks worth of groceries. Additionally, because CFL's lasts at least 3 years and up to five, and an incandescent light bulb lasts maybe a year if not used all that often, the savings is even more. It's what economists call further opportunity savings. And, of course, the additional green benefits of reducing your personal carbon footprint are, like the television commercial says...Priceless.

Bringing the promotion across the pond to Fresh & Easy

We suggest to Fresh & Easy corporate management they follow the lead of corporate parent Tesco in the UK and launch a similar "cheap CFL" promotion in their 59 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Even selling the CFL's for ten cents each instead of a penny, will drive shoppers to the stores, fulfill some of the green and sustainable retailing pledges the grocer has made to the communities it's doing business in, and give the people (and the environment) a good deal.

There's a movement in the U.S. to ban incandescent light bulbs. It isn't moving as fast as other ban the 'fill in the blank' movements--such as plastic grocery bag bans--but its moving. It so happens the UK is ahead of the U.S. on banning the old bulbs at present--hence Tesco UK's penny-a-CFL promotion. In fact, Tesco and other retailers in the UK have committed to stop selling the incandescent bulbs completely by 2011. However, the movement is gaining steam in the U.S. and we believe it will continue to do so. [Read more about the ban the bulb movement here.]

Piggy-backing on Tesco's current UK "one-penny-per-CFL bulb" promotion for Fresh & Easy in the U.S. would gain F&E some needed green credentials, offer shoppers (and potential new shoppers) a "green" deal, and create a little--and very much needed--excitement in the stores.

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