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Ikea to raise minimum wage for U.S. workers based on cost of living in each area

BY Marianne Wilson

Conshohocken, Pa. — Ikea is planning to raise the hourly minimum wage for employees in its U.S. stores by an average 17%, beginning January 1, 2015. In a move unprecedented among U.S. retailers, Ikea’s wage hike will vary in that it will be based on the cost of living in each store’s location. According to Ikea, the change will take the average minimum hourly wage in its existing U.S. stores (as of June 2014) to $10.76, a $1.59 or 17% increase, and $3.51 above the current federal minimum wage.

The increase is based on MIT’s “living wage” calculator, which takes into consideration such expenses as housing, food, medical and transportation costs in a particular geographical area. Ikea’s 38 existing U.S. stores, as well as three new ones in the works, will adopt the new pay rate, which will apply to all employees regardless of how many hours per week they work.

“The transition to the new minimum hourly wage structure is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense,” said Rob Olson, Ikea U.S. acting president and CFO. We are basing our wages on our co-workers and their needs, rather than what the local employment market dictates. Our focus is to ensure that Ikea is a great place to work by providing an environment that develops our co-workers and also meets our customers’ expectations. All of this contributes to our business success.”

Ikea noted that all its U.S. non-retail locations – including five distribution centers, two service centers and a manufacturing facility – have hourly wage jobs that are already paying minimum wages above the local living wage

The company will use MIT’s living wage rate for a single adult without children. While it is the lowest category in the calculator, it is almost always higher than the federal or state minimum wage rates.
According to Olson, the new minimum wage structure is part of a broader Ikea effort to make its pay and benefits package more attractive.

Ikea’s decision to hike its minimum wage comes amid the ongoing national debate about raising the federal minimum wage. In February, Gap Inc. announced that it would raise its minimum for U.S. workers to $9 per hour this year and $10 next year.

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Restoration Hardware unveils RH New York, The Gallery

BY CSA STAFF

Restoration Hardware’s RH New York, The Gallery in New York’s Flatiron District is open for business. The 19th-century building is located at 935 Broadway.

With three floors and 30,000 gross sq. ft., the newly expanded gallery is three times its previous size, featuring a dramatic antique mirror-lined grand staircase with custom-designed iron handrails inspired by the late Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa.

The new gallery features an expansive offering of the brand’s recently unveiled 2014 furniture collections, including pieces from the brand’s RH Small Spaces Source Book. Additionally, and coinciding with the launch of the RH Rugs Source Book, the gallery includes a Ben Soleimani Rug Showroom that displays the fourth generation designer’s exclusive hand-knotted and hand-woven rugs for RH. Also featured is his recently debuted Vintage collection from the 1940s and 1950s curated during his global travels.

The third floor has urban, garden-inspired settings showcasing collections from the RH Outdoor Source Book in all-weather wicker, weathered teak and high-performance Perennials fabrics.

Throughout the three floors is an expanded offering of the brand’s RH Objects of Curiosity and RH Tableware collections, objects, accessories and tableware that have been curated by artisans from around the world.

The gallery offers personalized interior design services, and will be open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.

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LPGA event a cause for donations

BY CSA STAFF

While Walmart and the Walton family were taking heat, again, on the national stage over worker pay and alleged stinginess, it was a different situation in Northwest Arkansas where generosity was in plain view.

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G is underway at the Pinnacle Country Club and as has been the case in years past the LPGA golf tournament is accompanied by numerous charitable donations.

The Arkansas Children’s Hospital was on the receiving end of a $100,000 donation to support expansion of a pediatric cancer clinic at the Centers for Children in Lowell, Ark. An even larger $450,000 check was presented by Walmart to the Northwest Arkansas Council to support projects that foster economic development, diversity and inclusion. The grant to the economic development organization is part of the company’s commitment to support regional growth.

“At Walmart, we are dedicated to fostering growth and prosperity in our hometown of Northwest Arkansas,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, SVP of corporate affairs and president of the Walmart Foundation. “That’s why we provide support to organizations like the Northwest Arkansas Council, so we can help further economic development here at home.”

Another check presented by Walmart and Unilever for $15,000 went to support the Boys & Girls Club. The donation was made by executive of both companies at the opening of the Walmart Kids Center presented by Dove, a place for kids and families to gather during the golf tournament.

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