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IKEA becomes largest retail wind energy investor in Canada

BY HBSDEALER Staff

IKEA Canada announced it has purchased a 46 megawatt wind farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta. The 20-turbine wind farm will be the largest owned by a Canadian retailer and is expected to generate 161 gigawatt hours (GWh) each year, which is more than double the total energy consumption of IKEA Canada. The project is currently being constructed by global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power and is expected to be fully operational in fall 2014. 

"IKEA Canada’s investment in renewable energy is a win-win-win. We are able to support the transition to a low-carbon future, reduce our energy and operating costs, and pass those benefits on to our customers by continuing to offer high quality home furnishings at low prices," says Kerri Molinaro, president of IKEA Canada. "This wind farm in Alberta, along with existing solar installations at three of our Ontario stores, is a significant step to achieving Ikea’s global ambition to be energy independent by 2020, producing more renewable energy than we consume."

The wind farm’s expected annual production of 161 GWh is equivalent to:

  • Thirty-two Ikea stores’ electricity consumption;
  • Sixty percent of Ikea Group electricity consumption in North America;
  • Eight percent of Ikea Group electricity consumption worldwide; and
  • 13,500 average Canadian households’ electricity consumption.

The 20 turbines to be erected are Siemens’ model SWT-2.3-101, 2.3 MW turbines with a rotor diameter of 101 meters, a hub height of 80 meters and blade length of 49 meters. While the wind farm will be owned fully by Ikea Canada it has been developed, is being constructed, and will be operated by Mainstream Renewable Power. The turbines will be located in the municipality of Pincher Creek, approximately 215 KMs south of Calgary. The power generated will be delivered onto Alberta’s energy grid, thereby increasing the availability of renewable energy to a growing energy market.

The IKEA Group has now committed to own 157 wind turbines worldwide and has installed over 500,000 solar panels on its buildings in nine countries. To date, the company has invested in wind farms in seven other markets: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Poland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Increases in holiday hiring, employee pay expected

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Twenty-five percent of retailers intend to hire more seasonal workers than they did in 2012, and 61% plan to hire at about the same level, according to the retail holiday survey released Oct. 9, 2013, by the global management consultancy Hay Group. The survey, in its seventh year, analyzed responses from 23 major U.S. retailers.

“Retailers are planning for a very merry holiday season in 2013,” Craig Rowley, vice president and global practice leader for Hay Group’s retail practice, said in a press statement about the findings. “Even so, there is a sense of only cautious optimism in the air, particularly in sectors like apparel and general merchandising, [which] have experienced stagnant sales in recent months. Coming off of a sluggish back-to-school shopping season, retail organizations are keeping a keen eye on the economy and consumer confidence as they head into the 2013 holiday season.”

A vast majority of retailers (87%) said they are most concerned about general economic conditions and how they might negatively affect sales this holiday season. Still, retailers’ long-term plans reflect confidence in the sector’s health, with 30% of companies reporting that they expect to hire at least one-quarter of their seasonal workers as full-time staff after the holiday season.    

Responding companies also are expecting to pay more to attract and retain talent this holiday season. In fact, 22% intend to increase wages for seasonal employees: 17% said they expect to raise hourly pay by 5 to 15 cents from 2012 levels, and 5% plan to raise hourly pay by 16 to 30 cents.

Incentives and benefits are expected to go up, too. Discounts remain the most popular reward, with 87% of retailers giving employees reduced prices on store merchandise, compared with 71% last year. Thirty percent are also promising flexible schedules to seasonal staff, up from 21% in 2012.

Target, which is scaling back on temporary holiday employees, will offer more holiday hours to nonholiday staff members first. Wal-Mart has a similar game plan, switching 35,000 of its current temporary employees to part time and another 35,000 from part time to full time, along with hiring a new crop of seasonal workers. Toys ‘R’ Us and Kohl’s noted that they have additional seasonal jobs available helping fulfill orders from their nonstore channels. Online-only retailers are preparing, as well; last year, Amazon hired 50,000 seasonal workers to handle the holiday demand, and this year that number will jump to more than 70,000.

 

Post-holiday staffing

In addition to offering part-timers more hours, retailers are focusing on keeping great talent. Target offered more than a third of last year’s seasonal workers year-round positions after the holidays, and Toys ‘R’ Us retained 15% of its seasonal workforce.

The majority of retailers (78%) reported that the Affordable Care Act will have no effect on hiring this holiday season. Those that did report an impact said it would lead to fewer full-time workers (9%), more part-time workers (9%) or no guaranteed time for workers (4%).

“Retailers are in thinking mode when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, evaluating the total cost to their organization and weighing that against staffing, brand and other business needs,” said Rowley.

© 2013, Society for Human Resource Management.

Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM 

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HCN Stock Watch: EXP enjoys a boost

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Eagle Materials (EXP) got a hearty boost on Thursday of 3.91%, raising its share price to $79.29. 

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