Target has installed 147 megawatts (million watts or MW) of solar capacity on 300 stores, according to the 2016 Solar Means Business Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made in improving building efficiencies and reducing environmental impact. Our commitment to installing solar panels on 500 stores and distribution centers by 2020 is evidence of that progress,” John Leisen, vice president of property management at Target, said in the SEIA statement.
Walmart had held the top spot for the previous four years and still claims second place with 145MW of solar power installed on 364 buildings, according to the SEIA, which has been tracking corporate solar deployments for the past five years.
This year, real estate developer Prologis came in third with 107.8MW of solar. Apple, which is in fourth place with 93.9MW of installed solar power, is a likely contender for first place sometime next year.
Last year, Apple announced it was investing $850 million in a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and provider of utility-scale PV plants.
Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW from the new California Flats Solar Project. The project is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Other Top 10 companies recognized in the SEIA’s report include Costco (50.7 MW), Kohl’s (50.2 MW), IKEA (44 MW), Macy’s (38.9 MW), General Growth Properties (30.2 MW) and Hartz Mountain Industries (22.7 MW).
The Tame Apple Press has been claiming that almost all the Galaxy Note 7 customers would defect to Apple’s iPhone 7, but a new survey suggests that less than 12 percent of them are thinking like this, and that number is shrinking by the day.
Branding Brand conducted a second survey of 1,000 Samsung smartphone owners from October 11-12 to compare consumer confidence to its earlier study, conducted on September 23.
It seems that only 40 percent of Note7 users have had enough of Samsung and want to go somewhere else. Given what has happened, this is a rather small figure and of that 40 percent, less than a third are moving to something Applish. This figure is down from an earlier survey which was conducted after the first recall.
As expected most Samsung users will go with another Android phone (up to 62 percent from 57 percent) and eight percent thought they would buy a Google Pixel. Given that is not really out yet we are not even sure why this option was in the survey. The Pixel is another Android device that means that Apple is going to get only 12 percent of the total Samsung users. More than 88 per cent of Note 7 users will either stay wilt Samsung or Android.
Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand said:
“As we’ve watched the Galaxy Note7 recall and discontinuation play out, even more people say they will switch their smartphone brand. Consumers want to be confident in their personal safety and will choose a new smartphone accordingly. Only a week after Google’s smartphone launch, many already have their sights set on the Pixel.”
Amazon.com Inc said it would add more than 120,000 seasonal workers in the United States for the holiday season, an increase of 20 percent more than last year, highlighting the growing threat the e-commerce giant poses to traditional retailers.
U.S. retailers such as Macy’s Inc, Target Corp and Kohl’s Corp have said they plan to hire fewer temporary workers or to keep seasonal employment levels little changed this holiday season.
More than 14,000 seasonal positions were transitioned to regular, full-time roles after the holidays last year, and the company expects to increase that number this year, Amazon said on Thursday.
The U.S. National Retail Federation earlier this month forecast a 3.6 percent rise in holiday sales this year, with online sales expected to climb 7 percent to 10 percent.
U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers’ biggest challenge in recent years has been tackling the growth of online retailers, specially Amazon, which offer the same products at lower prices and have made shopping more convenient.
They are also keeping sales expectations and inventories low – and hiring light – ahead of the holiday season to avoid a repeat of last year, when unusually warm weather hit sales and piled up unsold goods.
Samsung Electronics has begun offering financial incentives for U.S. and South Korea customers who turn in their Note 7s for other products or refund them, as the tech giant scrambles to shore up its reputation in the wake of a damaging safety crisis.
The consumer electronics company is also expanding a U.S. recall of the fire-prone model to a total 1.9 million Note 7 phones, which includes the 1 million Galaxy Note 7s it recalled on Sept. 15.
The South Korean giant is in damage-control mode as rivals like Apple Inc and LG Electronics try to steal market share from the global smartphone leader after it was forced to scrap its latest high-end device.
Samsung is boosting its marketing and promotional efforts around other Galaxy-series smartphones to cushion the blow from the demise of the premium Note 7, which it finally abandoned this week after failing to resolve overheating problems which caused some of the phones to ignite.
Samsung said on Thursday it is offering up to $100 in bill credit to consumers who exchange their Note 7s for any Samsung smartphone in the U.S.
U.S. customers who exchange their Note 7s for a refund or other branded smartphone will receive $25 in bill credit.
“We appreciate the patience of our consumers, carriers and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times,” said Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer, Samsung Electronics America.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday the Note 7’s “battery can overheat and catch fire, posing serious fire and burn hazard to consumers.”
It added that Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Note 7 phones overheating in the U.S., including 23 new reports since the Sept. 15 recall announcement.
In the U.S., Samsung began sending fireproof boxes and protective gloves to customers returning potentially explosive Note 7s, drawing humorous barbs from social media commentators.
The company has commenced offering similar financial incentives in its home market of South Korea, which it says would compensate consumers for their “big inconvenience.”
After days of heavy losses, Samsung’s shares ended 1.4 percent higher on Thursday while the broader market fell 0.9 percent.
On Wednesday, the firm slashed its quarterly profit estimate by $2.3 billion to reflect the impact of the Note 7 withdrawal, giving some investors hope that the financial cost of the debacle had been largely accounted for.
“We are confident the 3Q 16 re-statement puts to bed the direct financial impact of the Note 7 recall and termination,” UBS said in a report.
“In the near-term, we believe investors will re-focus on shareholders returns ahead of full 3Q results Oct 27th.”
According to new estimates from Digitimes Research, the recently announced Google Pixel smartphone is expected to reach 3 to 4 million shipments in the second half of this year, giving a 10 percent increase in HTC’s total smartphone shipments from the first half.
Google’s latest Pixel and Pixel XL devices come in 5-inch and 5.2-inch display sizes and feature a quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera and look very similar to Apple’s iPhone from an aesthetic perspective. Pricing is also very similar, as the Pixel starts at $649 for 32GB and the Pixel XL starts at $769, while the iPhone 7 is also $649 for 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus is $769 for 32GB.
Performance similar to Snapdragon 820 devices
Recently, the performance of the latest Snapdragon 821-powered flagship Android devices has become a recent site of investigation, When averaging the top eight Geekbench 4.0.1 scores sorted by multi-core performance, the results show the Pixel and Pixel XL receiving scores of around 1,603 single-core and 4,106 multi-core, still lower on average than the iPhone 6S (2,506 / 4,320). Meanwhile, the A10-powered iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus manage scores of around 3,473 single-core and 5,707 multi-core.
For the most part, the Pixel and Pixel XL seem more in line with the HTC 10 (1,745 / 3,961) and LG G5 (1,699 / 4,108), both of which feature the Snapdragon 820 with 2.15GHz high-performance cores and 1.6GHz power-efficient cores. The Snapdragon 821 features two 2.4GHz high-performance cores and two 2GHz power-efficient cores, meaning Google’s Pixel smartphones should be at least 10 percent faster than these devices, but this does not seem to be the case in this benchmarking utility for now.
Battery life is another story entirely, and this is where the Snapdragon 821 shows improvement over Snapdragon 820 devices including the previous Nexus 5X and 6P. Internet browsing over LTE improves by 60.2 percent over the Nexus 5X and 30 percent over the 6P, while talk time improves about 30 percent over the Nexus 5X and 13 percent over the 6P, according to a list compiled independently by Reddit user TyGamer125.
Pixel, Pixel XL will be 40 to 50 percent of HTC shipments
Meanwhile, Google’s launch of the HTC-manufactured Pixel smartphones is projected to increase HTC’s total handset shipments to around 6.5 and 7 million units by the end of the year, up from between 5.8 and 6.1 million units in the first half.
According to Luke Lin, a senior analyst at Digitimes Research, Pixel shipments should account for around 40 to 50 percent of HTC’s total smartphone shipments in the second half of this year.
AT&T and T-Mobile have began halting exchanges of Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones that were shipped to solve an issue of overheating batteries in the previous version, following reports that the new phones have also been involved in incidents of overheating and explosions.
“Based on recent reports, we’re no longer exchanging new Note7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents,” AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook wrote in an emailed statement Sunday.
“We still encourage customers with a recalled Note7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other smartphone of their choice,” he added.
T-Mobile also said Sunday it is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note7 and exchanges for replacement Note7 devices. “Customers can still bring their recalled Note7 or the new replacement Note7, along with accessories they purchased from T-Mobile, to a T-Mobile store for a full refund and choose from any device in T-Mobile’s inventory,” the mobile operator said in a statement on Sunday.
Under an official program announced last month by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 1 million Note7 smartphones sold in the U.S. by Samsung before Sept. 15 were recalled following concerns about faulty lithium-ion batteries in the devices, which could overheat and even explode.
As part of the agreement with CPSC, customers could return the phones to Samsung for a refund, or exchange it for a new Note7 device, in which the battery issues had been resolved. The company also announced an exchange of the Note7 with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge devices, and replacement of any Note7 specific accessories, with a refund of the price difference between devices.
The number of reports of replacement Note7 devices that have overheated or exploded has gone up to seven, and included a Note7 that caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight, Ars Technica reported Sunday.
The first-generation Echo device is a voice-activated household digital assistant that can be used to play music, read audiobooks, answer questions about the weather, traffic and latest news, or control IoT-connected light switches and thermostats, among other useful utilities. The device launched in November 2014 and features a Texas Instruments single-core ARM Cortex A8, along with 256MB of LPDDR1 memory and 4GB of storage capacity.
The new Echo Dot will be launching later this month with a MediaTek SoC, while the report suggests shipments of the chip are expected to peak between October and November. The chip is expected to improve the device’s ability to hear a user ask a question from any direction, though this will likely be tested when reviews are posted in a couple weeks. Meanwhile, Amazon will continue sourcing from Texas Instruments to produce Cortex A8 chips for its existing Echo device.
Amazon been purchasing chips from MediaTek since at least 2014 for use in Kindle Fire HD tablets and OTT devices, and now wants them to be part of the smart home device market as well.
In September, the company announced it would release a software update to support Echo Spatial Perception between existing Echo and newer Dot devices, allowing a single device to answer a voice command based on nearest proximity to the user. Of course, Amazon wants its customers to buy at least half a dozen of these assistants to scatter around the house, with bulk discounts available on six and twelve packs at $49 and $99 price reductions, respectively.
The Echo Dot will go on sale October 20th and is currently available for pre-order on the product page for $49.
A federal judge has ruled that four national credit-card companies may have improperly conspired “in lockstep” to set a deadline of Oct. 1, 2015 for requiring retailers to upgrade their technology to accept embedded chip cards for credit and debit card purchases.
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup agreed with two small Florida businesses — B & R Supermarket and Grove Liquors — which brought the lawsuit in March.
Alsup’s ruling also allows the antitrust case against Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover Financial Services to move forward in federal court for the Northern District of California.
The two retailers are seeking to create a class-action case involving millions of small retailers who have been required under the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline to assume liability for fraudulent card charges if they haven’t upgraded to the more-secure chip card technology instead of magnetic-stripe cards. The retailers believe there was industry conspiracy over creation of the deadline that violates fair trade practices.
In the same ruling, the judge allowed two other retailers — Los Angeles-based gourmet food chain Monsieur Marcel and New York-based grocery story chain Fine Fare — to intervene in the case.
Significantly, the judge dismissed the role of nine major banks, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, in any conspiracy over setting the chip card deadline, but ordered the banks to retain records pertinent to the case.
“This order concludes that plaintiffs plausibly allege an impermissible conspiracy” by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, the judge said.
“We are disappointed that the court denied our motion,” said Mastercard spokesman Seth Eisen, in an email. “As we move into the next phase of the process, we believe we have a strong case that will allow us to put this matter behind us and focus on driving our business and relationships with customers.”
American Express, Visa and Discover declined to comment on the ruling.
Lawyers for the retailers have said a class-action lawsuit could include 8 million U.S. small businesses. They would seek repayment of the cost of upgrading to chip card readers and related software, estimated at $6 billion. However, the National Retail Federation has recently estimated the total cost of the conversion in the U.S. at up to $35 billion.
The world’s largest retailer is now on track to double the number of giant warehouses dedicated to online sales to 10 by the end of 2016, according to Justen Traweek, vice-president of e-commerce supply chain and fulfillment.
That pace is faster than the 8 large warehouses that industry consultants expected Wal-Mart to build by the end of 2017.
At the same time, Wal-Mart in the last year has installed new technology such as automated product sorting and improved item tracking that for the first time puts them on par with Amazon’s robot-staffed facilities, according to supply-chain consultants.
“We have doubled our capacity in the last twelve months and that allows us to ship to a majority of the U.S. population in one day,” Traweek said.
Wal-Mart is holding its annual investor day on Thursday when, among other topics, it is expected to update on the progress it has made in its e-commerce business.
Wal-Mart, which has about 4,600 stores in the United States and over 6,000 worldwide, has been investing in e-commerce for 15 years, but it still lags far behind Amazon.
“These additions definitely give Wal-Mart the opportunity to compete better than other companies going head-to-head with Amazon,” said Steve Osburn, director of supply chain with consultancy Kurt Salmon, referring to the likes of Target and others. “Having said that, choosing to race with Amazon is different than catching up with them.”
Wal-Mart in the last four fiscal years has accelerated its investment in e-commerce and digital initiatives, excluding acquisitions, from about $300 million in 2013 to $1.1 billion this year for a total of about $3 billion, according to public filings and earnings transcripts. E-commerce accounts for about 3 percent of Wal-Mart’s overall sales.
Since 2011, Wal-Mart has acquired 15 e-commerce startups, one of which became its core Silicon Valley technology arm, @WalmartLabs. Last month, it completed its purchase of online retailer Jet.com for about $3 billion and named Jet’s founder, Marc Lore, the head of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce business.
The massive warehouses are key to Wal-Mart’s e-commerce strategy because they enable the company to deliver packages more economically when shipping online orders with multiple items. Fulfilling such orders now can often mean multiple shipments from different warehouses or stores.
“This improves two fundamental things: Wal-Mart’s speed to market, which is how fast their products reach consumers, and it will help them reach an even larger audience,” said Regenia Sanders, vice-president of supply chain at consultancy SSA & Co.
Amazon is holding discussions with European Union antitrust regulators regarding settling a year-long investigation into its e-book deals with publishers without a fine, a person familiar with the matter said.
The move comes as Amazon is also under scrutiny over its tax deal with Luxembourg, which may result in the U.S. online retailer paying millions of euros in back taxes.
“Amazon is in talks to settle the e-book case but it is too early to say whether it will reach an agreement,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Under the EU’s settlement rules, the company would not face any fine or finding of wrongdoing if it can offer concessions to allay regulatory concerns.
European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment.
The EU competition watchdog opened an investigation into the case in June last year, saying Amazon’s e-books contracts with publishers giving it terms as good as those for its rivals may make it difficult for other e-books distributors to compete.
The focus is on Amazon’s e-books in English and German. The company is the biggest e-book distributor in Europe, while the market is growing rapidly.
The feature is set to roll out to users 18 and older in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand over the next few days, according to the company.
Facebook bills Marketplace as a service people can use to find the things they’re looking to buy and sell what they want to get rid of.
“Facebook is where people connect, and in recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other,” wrote Mary Ku, Facebook’s director of product management. “More than 450 million people visit buy and sell in [Facebook Groups] each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world. To help people make more of these connections, today we’re introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community.”
The move gives sites like eBay and Craigslist, which have made their names and their fortunes on acting like online flea markets, a new rival.
“Yeah, this is like a jazzed up Craigslist,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “Facebook should bring an element of trust that Craigslist never had. Craiglist, which has had a problem with scammers, is built on the concept of anonymity, where Facebook uses the concept of community or social network to provide a level or security.”
Even so, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, thinks Facebook may have its own issues with trust.
“Historically, Facebook has been tone-deaf about privacy,” he added. “I’m skeptical this will work, given the perceived creepy factor involved. I mean, let’s consider Craigslist and all the creepy things that have happened on that service. And now consider letting those same people near your personal Facebook world.”
Moorhead noted that Facebook may have to make it clear to users how it will separate Marketplace and a Facebook user’s private information. “Given their track record, this won’t be easy,” he said.
Developers will be able to use six different coding languages to work with 25 different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in payment, data, security and experimental areas. The experimental category includes APIs for bot commerce such as chatbots and virtual reality and augmented reality devices.
In one example of how a bot commerce API could be rolled out in an actual setting, Mastercard and Pizza Hut Asia are piloting a commerce application with Pepper the humanoid robot, who acts as a restaurant waiter capable of taking orders, serving food and collecting payment at the table.
Pepper is a humanoid robot developed by a subsidiary of Softbank Group of Japan.
Mastercard’s role in the Pepper pilot is the commerce element through MasterPass, a service that allows secure payments across various devices. Restaurants could soon deploy the waiter robots in Japan because of a serious labor shortage in restaurants there, said Oran Cummins, senior vice president for APIs at MasterCard.
MasterCard is also experimenting with blockchain, a distributed database first implemented in 2009 as the underpinning of bitcoin. Blockchain can be used as a public ledger to automatically maintain a continuously-growing list of records.
“It’s very much exploratory,” Cummins said in an interview. “We’ve done a lot of work in blockchain and we’ve been experimenting with a number of things in exposing APIs and blockchain functionality.”
It isn’t clear when blockchain will be part of the Mastercard Developers platform, however.
Mastercard first started offering third-party developer APIs six years ago, and has seen a 400% increase in API usage in 2016. With the growing interest from tens of thousands of individual developers and those inside large companies globally, Mastercard decided to expand the program to provide open APIs for all of its products.
Sears is betting on its Shop Your Way loyalty plan, which offers points and tailored deals to members, as the company looks to revive sales. The program accounted for 75 percent of the company’s sales through the first half of 2016.
Riders who link their Uber account to Sears’ loyalty plan will receive up to $2 in loyalty points for every trip. The program, Rider Rewards, is currently available in Chicago and New York City, and will be rolled out nationally soon, the companies said.
While new drivers who sign up to drive with Uber through Shop Your Way will get up to $1,000 in points, existing Uber drivers in some cities including Chicago, New York City and San Francisco can also earn points by enrolling in the program.
Sears, which has not reported a profit in five years, has made the Shop Your Way program the focus of its revival strategy, even as it shrinks its store base to reduce costs.
“We are looking at more and more ways where we can reach out to top-tier brands and find more opportunities where our members can earn points,” Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail at Sears, told Reuters.
The company declined to disclose Shop Your Way’s membership count, but said it is in “tens of millions”.
Other Shop Your Way partners include Starbucks Corp, daily deals website Groupon Inc, florist 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Inc and identity theft protection services provider LifeLock Inc.
Sears’ 638 Auto Centers will also serve as one of Uber’s preferred maintenance providers, offering exclusive discounts and points to Uber drivers, the companies said.
U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Communications Inc has resumed taking orders for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, after having stopped sales of the device earlier due to fire-prone batteries.
Samsung has recalled about 1 million Note 7 smartphones in the United States, offering to replace or refund the flagship phones. Their susceptibility to catching fire – with more than 100 cases reported across the globe – has damaged the image of the South Korean company.
Globally, the world’s top smartphone maker has recalled at least 2.5 million handsets, in a major setback for the company that is looking to claw back market share from rivals, including Apple Inc that recently released its latest iPhones.
Samsung halted new sales ahead of the recall as it prepared replacement Note 7 devices with safe batteries.
The new Note 7 phones have been approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for all purchases and exchanges, Verizon said on its website, adding it has the Samsung device available for sale starting Wednesday.
The largest U.S. wireless carrier warned that initial quantities could be limited.
Samsung said in a statement on Tuesday that it had shipped more than 500,000 new Note 7s to U.S. carriers and retailers and that affected users will be able to exchange their recalled phones starting by Wednesday at the latest. The statement did not specify when new sales would start.
Rival carrier Sprint Corp’s website also showed the Note 7 available for order, providing a list of stores where customers can pick up a new handset by appointment.
Samsung did not immediately comment on the U.S. sales plans.
The firm previously said it will resume new sales in South Korea starting Sept. 28 and that sales in Australia and Singapore would resume sometime in October.
Of the iPhone 7 online pre-orders during the initial 48 hours of availability, 55% were for the 5.5-in. iPhone 7 Plus; the remaining 45% were for the 4.7-in. iPhone 7. That was the first-ever flip to the Plus size in the three annual cycles since Apple offered a big-screen iPhone in 2014.
According to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Slice Intelligence, U.S. buyers of the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus two years ago leaned toward the former in a split of 65% to 35%. The gap narrowed last year with the 6S and 6S Plus, when the smaller iPhone 6S accounted for 59% of the total, and the 6S Plus with 41%.
Slice based its data on a sampling of approximately 4 million U.S. consumers. Those people have opted in to Slice’s services or apps — including the same-named shopper’s assistant app for iOS and Android — or those of partners which license the firm’s technology, and so give Slice access to their email inboxes. Slice sniffs through the inboxes, then spots and copies emailed receipts for online orders.
Apple does not disclose the sales splits between iPhone models — or the various versions of its other hardware for that matter — but instead tallies all iPhones into a single number for each quarter.
Slice’s data hinted at a larger gross revenue number for Apple in the U.S. this launch cycle: The iPhone 7 Plus sells for $120 more than the iPhone 7.
Not surprisingly, Slice’s email receipts also showed that the iPhone’s new Black and Jet Black colors were the two most popular for pre-order customers, replacing the now-extinct Space Gray, which had been the top choice for the last two years. Nearly half of all iPhone 7 and 7 Plus orders (46% to be exact) were for the Black, said Slice, with another 23% were for the Jet Black.
Jet Black, a new highly polished finish, has been in short supply, high demand, or both: Apple ran out of that color almost as soon as pre-orders opened on Sept. 9. Currently, a Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus will ship to U.S. buyers sometime in November, according to Apple’s e-mart, while a Jet Black iPhone 7 will ship three to five weeks after ordering.