ENERGY/HVAC

Ikea continues to expand its solar portfolio

BY Marianne Wilson

A new solar project will make Ikea the largest non-utility solar owner in the state of Ohio.

The home furnishings giant plans to install solar panels atop its future store in Columbus, Ohio, due to open in summer 2017. It will be the second Ikea solar array in Ohio. The chain installed a 1.026-MW rooftop array at its Cincinnati-area store in 2012.

REC Solar will develop, design and install the solar power system at the Columbus store, which is being built by Pepper Construction.

The new Ikea’s 213,000-sq.-ft. solar array will consist of a 1.21 MW system, built with 3,546 panels, and will produce approximately 1,447,700 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 1,017 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

“We are excited about furthering our sustainability commitment with solar panels on the future Columbus store,” said Lars Petersson, Ikea U.S. president. “At Ikea we have a mission to create a better everyday life for the many, and Ikea Columbus can add to this goal while also making us the largest non-utility solar owner in Ohio.”

The installation will represent the retailer’s 46th solar project in the United States, contributing to the Ikea solar presence atop nearly 90% of its U.S. locations, with a total generation of more than 40 MW. Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and globally has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, reinforcing its confidence and investment in solar photovoltaic technology.

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WORKFORCE

Survey: Many retailers still plan to comply with overtime rule

BY Marianne Wilson

More than half (56%) of retailers plan to comply with the planned Fair Standards Labor Act (FLSA) overtime rule for exempt employees on Dec. 1, the date it was to go into effect, despite a Nov. 22 injunction that puts the plan on hold.

That is among the findings of a spot survey of U.S. retailers by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry.

The overtime rule, which was set to go into effect Dec. 1, would have had an immediate impact on exempt employees who earned less than $47,476, as these employees would now be eligible for overtime time-and-a-half pay.

“This injunction came just eight days before the ruling was to go into effect and many retailers had already either communicated or implemented plans, so turning back was not an option,” said Craig Rowley, Korn Ferry Hay group senior partner, retail and consumer. “This minimum pay was not driven by market practice and represents a significant cost to many retailers. The retailers that do not plan on making immediate changes are in a ‘wait and see’ mode.”

Twenty-four of survey respondents said they will not implement changes due to the injunction and will wait for the ruling, while 21% say they will make changes on a case-by-case basis.

The survey found that 65% of those who had planned to increase exempt employees to the $47,476 salary threshold still plan to do so, with 35% saying they will wait for the ruling.

Also, when considering what they will now do with exempt employees they planned to make non-exempt to comply with the ruling, 35% say they will keep them exempt and not pay overtime, and 65% say they will make them non-exempt and pay overtime.

More than half (51% ) of respondents say that despite the injunction, they will still offer new exempt employee hires the FSLA minimum rate of $47,476, even if the new hires were in jobs that previously earned a lower base salary.

“With 59% of respondents saying the ruling will impact a moderate to significant amount of employees, this is a big issue for retailers,” said Rowley. “It has yet to be seen how exactly this will change the industry when and if the ruling goes into effect.”

The Korn Ferry Hay Group survey of 68 retailers representing nearly $1 trillion in revenue was conducted from Friday, Nov. 25 through Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

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News

CSA Exclusive: America’s Top 10 Redevelopers

BY CSA STAFF

Kimco Realty Corp. takes the top spot in Chain Store Age’s 12th annual Top Redevelopers survey, with 2,669,999 sq. ft. redeveloped. Kimco’s redevelopment reach in 2015-2016 spanned 19 states and Canada, as the company touched 39 projects in all.

(The survey analyzed redevelopment work from mid-year to mid-year in the 12-month period from June 2015 to June 2016.)

Vestar claimed the #2 spot, with 1,930,000 sq. ft. developed, followed by Westfield, with 1,743,000 sq. ft.

To see the complete listing, with profiles of the 10 companies, click here.

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