OPERATIONS

Retail container traffic to be flat in January, increasing in spring

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates said import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should be nearly flat during January compared with the same month last year, but significant year-over-year increases are expected this spring.

“We’re headed into the slow season for cargo shipments, but forecasts indicate that retailers will be stocking up this spring in anticipation of a moderate recovery as the year progresses,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Cargo volume doesn’t translate directly into sales volume, but when retailers import more it’s because they expect to sell more.”

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.25 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units in November, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 2.1% from October since most holiday merchandise was already on the shelves but up 1.2% from November 2010. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.

December was estimated at 1.21 million TEU, up 5.9% from a year ago. January 2012 is forecast at 1.21 million TEU, up one-tenth of 1% from January 2011. February, historically the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.06 million TEU, down 3.3% from a year ago. March is forecast at 1.2 million TEU, up 10.5% from last year; April at 1.26 million TEU, up 3.8%; and May at 1.3 million TEU, up 0.9%.

The total for 2011 was estimated 14.86 million TEU, up 0.7% from 2010’s 14.75 million TEU

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OPERATIONS

Oracle teams up with Build-A-Bear Workshop to raise funds for Retail ROI at NRF show

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Attendees at the 2012 National Retail Federation convention (“The Big Show”) in New York who donate $20 to The Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI) will take home a Build-A-Bear Teddy Bear. The annaul event will be held Jan. 15 -18, at the Jacob Javits Center.

In an initiative designed to raise funds for charities sponsored by RetailROI, Oracle is providing 2,000 Build-A-Bear Teddy Bears dressed in a custom RetailROI t-shirt at its booth on the exhibit floor (booth #1319).

“Along with creating awareness and helping companies leverage their strengths to help kids, Retail ROI raises funds for ‘feet on the street’ charities who are making a real difference for orphans and vulnerable children here in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Greg Buzek, co-Founder, Retail ROI. “We appreciate this initiative by Oracle and Build-A-Bear and we hope that NRF attendees will participate by making a donation and taking a bear home to their own children or donating one for a child in need right here in the U.S.”

RetailROI is a charitable foundation under the umbrella of the Giving Back Fund, and was established to help the 400 million orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide. RetailROI provides grants to charities that provide hands-on effort in orphan care, including food, shelter, medical, clothing and education, foster care and adoption support organizations, grants and zero-interest loans for adoption, child rescue from human trafficking and life skills training for orphaned and vulnerable children.

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STORE SPACES

Ikea to install solar panels on five locations in Midwest

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Conshohocken, Pa. — Ikea said Thursday it plans to install solar energy panels on five more of its U.S. locations – all of them in the Midwest. Installation is slated for summer 2012 completion and will expand Ikea’s solar presence to nearly 85% of its U.S. locations.

Collectively, the five stores will total 4.8 megawatts of solar generating capacity, approximately 20,400 panels, and an annual output of 5.62 million kilowatt hours of electricity – the equivalent to reducing 4,273 tons of carbon dioxide – equal to eliminating the emissions of 760 cars or providing electricity for 484 homes yearly.

Ikea will own and operate each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or power purchase agreement – now including its two Chicago-area stores as well as stores in Bloomington, Minn., Canton, Mich., and Pittsburgh.

Ikea already has 12 U.S. solar energy systems operational with 20 more underway. Installing solar panels atop these five locations will increase the company’s U.S. solar presence to nearly 85% and will result in a total generating capacity of 31.6 MW in the United States.

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