Ikea commits to solar, EV charging in San Antonio
Ikea’s commitment to sustainability will be reflected in its new San Antonio-area store.
The home furnishings giant said that its upcoming location in Live Oak, Texas will be equipped with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations when it opens in the winter months of 2019. The 289,000-sq.-ft. store will feature a 245,000-sq.-ft. solar array, which will consist of a 1.72 MW system, built with 4,986 panels, and produce approximately 2,510,000 kWh of electricity annually for the store. Ikea commissioned REC Solar for the development, design and installation of the system.
In addition, the store will have three Blink electric vehicle charging stations. This initiative reflects the continued partnership between Ikea and Blink Charging Co., a leading owner, operator and provider of electric vehicle charging station products and networked EV charging services with thousands of public charging stations in the U.S. There are currently Blink EV charging units at 34 IKEA stores in the U.S.
The Live Oak installation will represent the 55th solar project for Ikea in the U.S., and contribute to the company’s solar presence atop nearly 90% of its U.S. locations, with a total generation of more than 56 MW. Ikea owns and operates the solar PV energy systems atop its buildings as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement).
Globally, Ikea has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, reinforcing its confidence and investment in solar photovoltaic technology. In line with its goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 750,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 441 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S.
The Live Oak Ikea store will be built on 31 acres at the southwest corner of Interstate 35 and Loop 1604, approximately 15 miles northeast of downtown San Antonio.
Discount stores big with teen holiday shoppers
Teens may be digitally savvy, but when it comes to shopping they tend to favor traditional venues.
A new survey from Junior Achievement USA (JA) reveals that a majority of teens (54%) plan to do much of their shopping at such brick-and-mortar discount stores as Walmart and Target this holiday season. Less than half (46%) said that they would be doing much of their shopping online, while about a third (35%) planned to head out to the shopping malls. The findings are essentially unchanged from a similar survey conducted by JA in 2017.
“Many young people have their first shopping experience during the holidays,” said Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “This provides an opportunity for teens to begin learning how to work within a budget and make financially informed decisions. It also creates a moment when parents can talk to their kids about managing money as part of day-to-day conversation.”
The top gift idea is clothing (54%), followed by gift cards (48%), video games (39%), accessories, such as hats and shoes (37%), small electronics (30%), jewelry (28%), toys (27%), music (23%), and sporting goods/apparel (17%).
The largest percentage of teens (42%) expects to spend less than $100 on holiday gifts, while about a fifth anticipate spending between $100 and $200 (21%). Far fewer (13%) think they will spend more than $200 on gifts. About a quarter (26%) either don’t know what they will spend or don’t anticipate buying presents.
New concept makes it easier for online retailers to get physical
One of the nation’s leading mall owners and developers is looking to give emerging e-commerce brands a jump-start on entering brick-and-mortar retail.
Macerich announced the launch of BrandBox, a format that offers a turnkey approach for digitally native brands to open and operate stores. The first BrandBox will open Nov. 17 at Tysons Corner Center, in Tysons, Va. It will house six brands — Winky Lux, Naadam, Interior Define, Nectar Sleep, DKNY and UrbanStems — with each company having its own mini shop, ranging from 500 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft. each, within the overall space. Leases will run six to 12 months.
Additional BrandBox rollouts across the Macerich portfolio will begin in 2019 at properties including Fashion District Philadelphia, Santa Monica Place, Scottsdale Fashion Square, The Shops at North Bridge, The Village at Corte Madera and Washington Square. The footprint of the initial BrandBox location at Tysons Corner Center will double by summer 2019.
Each shop in Brandbox comes prefabricated with plug-and-play technology and utility including including WiFi, retail analytics (pre-wired to support all major POS systems), security tags and cameras, storage for inventory, and a breakroom. The spaces have modular walls and tracking that can be re-positioned for a new store configuration. Similarly, the lighting and fixtures can be swapped out. Store designs will be tailored to each brand.
In addition, the participating BrandBox retailers will have access to a proprietary retail analytics dashboard to measure in-store sales and customer engagement as they would in the digital world by analyzing data including anonymized foot traffic, conversion, customer flows, and sales, according to Macerich. They will be able to measure a lift in local e-commerce traffic resulting from opening a store with BrandBox.
“Our extensive research and direct experience with top digitally native brands has helped us to understand how essential offline retail is to their future growth and success,” said Kevin McKenzie, executive VP and chief digital officer, Macerich, which owns 52 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 48 regional shopping centers. “With BrandBox, we’re excited to formalize our commitment to these smart up-and-coming brands, and be a true partner, every step of the way, as they expand their footprint beyond the digital world.”
Other malls are also piloting projects to attract new and emerging brands. A new concept called Fourpost just opened up shop at Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall. (Fourpost was founded by Mark Ghermezian, whose family’s Triple Five Group operates both malls.) Fourpost’s retail model will include a collection of “studio shops” and eateries designed to connect local businesses, digital natives and other emerging brands with shoppers. The New York City-based company expects to open several additional locations in 2019 across the nation.