OPERATIONS

Ikea plans to double solar array on Maryland DC

BY Dan Berthiaume

Conshocken, Pa. – Ikea plans to nearly double the solar array completed in April atop its Perryville, Md., distribution center, the state’s largest such solar energy system. Installation of the new panels will begin in November with completion expected in 2014.

The 467,618-sq.-ft. solar addition will consist of a 2.2-MW system, built with 7,337 modules, and will produce 2,695,355 kWh of electricity annually for the facility. Including the existing system, this 1.7 million-sq.-ft. distribution center’s total 4.9-MW solar installation of 25,913 panels soon will generate 6,092,533 kWh of clean electricity yearly, the equivalent of reducing 4,299 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to EPA estimates.

For the development, design and installation of the Perryville distribution center’s current and expanded solar power system, Ikea contracted with Inovateus Solar LLC, an industry-leading solar power distributor and integrator specializing in large-scale solar installations.

Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems, as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement), and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 300,000 solar panels on buildings across the world.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to nearly double the solar energy generated by this facility,” said Steffen Daab, distribution center manager. “This is another example of our commitment to create a more sustainable life for communities where we operate.”

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Blockbuster to close domestic stores, end DVD by mail

BY Dan Berthiaume

Englewood, Colo. — Blockbuster L.L.C., will end its retail and by mail DVD distribution operations by early January 2014. The company will close its approximately 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores, as well as its distribution centers.

The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December and will serve existing customers until that time. During the past 18 months, Blockbuster has divested itself of assets in the U.S., as well international assets, including operations in the U.K., and Scandinavia. Parent company Dish Network will continue to support Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations, relationships and agreements.

Dish will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library. Dish will focus on delivering the Blockbuster @Home service to Dish customers, and on its transactional streaming service for the general market, Blockbuster On Demand.

"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH president and CEO. "Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings."

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Holiday shoppers use native apps

BY Dan Berthiaume

Philadelphia – Native apps, or mobile apps developed in the native operating language of a hardware platform, figure prominently in the plans of many holiday shoppers. In a survey of 500 consumers conducted by Artisan Mobile, 80% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that they are purchasing and browsing products on native apps more than ever before, and 77% intend to make purchases through a mobile and/or tablet app this holiday season.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents expect to make purchases through a mobile and/or tablet app this holiday season, while 88% plan to browse/research products using a mobile or tablet app. Sixty-six percent browsed or made purchases on a mobile or tablet app last holiday season, so there is a significant increase expected this year.

Respondents were asked how much of their holiday shopping this year will include browsing and purchasing on a mobile or tablet app:

  • 27% plan to do between 20-39% of their holiday shopping via an app;
  • 24% plan to do between 40-59% of their holiday shopping via an app; and
  • 20% plan to do between 60-79% of their holiday shopping via an app.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents agree and 25% strongly agree that mobile or tablet apps are a critical way for them to get what they want quickly and easily. Further, 35% of survey participants said that they frequently or always make purchases by other means after browsing products on a mobile or tablet app, while half said they occasionally do, and only 13% said rarely.

Respondents were asked where they make a purchase after they browse a product on a brand’s mobile app but do not make the purchase through the mobile app:

  • 68% use their computer to make the purchase;
  • 55% go to the store to make the purchase; and
  • 35% use their tablet to make the purchase.

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