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IKEA to explore selling solar panels

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Swedish home decor giant IKEA has announced plans to spend $77 million on research and development for retail solar panels, as well as other energy-efficient items.

In addition to solar panels, the company plans to use the funds to research and develop energy-efficient products such as energy meters and energy-efficient lighting.

The company currently sells a number of eco-friendly items, most notably a CFL light bulb “bar” with a wide variety of energy-efficient lighting options. IKEA plans to invest funds into green product companies that already offer commercial prospects, according to CleanTech Group, a sustainable business financing group that is working with IKEA on the research initiative.

In all, the program, dubbed IKEA GreenTech, will focus on five product areas in all – solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency and water saving and purification.

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Dealer dodges credit card scam

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Credit card criminals appear to be targeting pro dealers and home centers to separate them from valuable power tools.

Tom Smart, paint manager at the Amenia, N.Y. location of pro dealer H.G. Page & Sons, alerted Home Channel News to a fraud attempt involving an operater-assisted-phone call, a credit card purchase and an overnight delivery of a $700 miter saw.

Before the order was shipped, FedEx’s security division contacted Smart and described the purchase as fraudulent, he said.

“Apparently, we’re not the first store where this happened,” Smart said. “This month it seems to be miter saws.”

The scam artists use the operator-assisted call for the hearing impaired as a way to prevent tracking of the call.

The fraudulent call came to the Amenia store in Dutchess County on Tuesday. “Naturally, it happens when we’re busy at the counter,” he said.

Smart alerted H.G. Page’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y. headquarters and the Dutchess County sheriff. If similar calls come in, the store employees have been advised to get a mailing address and a telephone number and tell the caller that the store will call back to complete the order. “If it’s not legitimate, you find out real fast,” Smart said.

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Gittlitz joins ‘First Look Housewares’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Organizers of the First Look Housewares Show have announced a partnership between Ian Gittlitz, former president and CEO of business-to-business publisher ICD, and Rob Cappiello, president of First Look Housewares and a longtime organizer of industry trade shows, notably the National Hardware Show.

The show, a preview event for the housewares industry, has been set for Jan. 8 to 10 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Cappiello said of Gittlitz: “His vast knowledge of the industry, his contacts and friendships will help make the First Look Housewares Show a first class event serving the housewares community.”

The show is meant to help “retailers and manufacturers to get together right after the close of the fourth quarter to review the previous year and find the winning products for the coming year,” Gittlitz noted. “Timing is key and only the First Look Housewares Show is addressing that point.”

According to Cappiello, the show will emphasize new products and is “designed to allow retailers to get through the show floor quickly.” Booth sizes will be limited to a maximum of 400 square feet per exhibitor. The show is slated to feature more than 300 exhibitors of a wide range of household items, including kitchen electrics, bath products, storage and organization items, cleaning supplies and more.

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