IKEA to close London pickup store at month's end - The London Free Press - Canada News Media
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IKEA to close London pickup store at month's end – The London Free Press



The Swedish home furnishings giant is closing its London pickup store, along with others in Ontario, it said Monday in a news release.

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Ikea’s London experiment is over.

The Swedish home furnishings giant is closing its London pickup store, along with others in Ontario, it said Monday in a news release.

The London store opened in 2015 “as part of a global test” to learn more about how customers shop and “we gathered many valuable insights which will inform how we continue to evolve and adapt as a business,” read a statement from Ikea spokesperson Kristin Newbigging.

Now, however, the retailer will close pickup and order point stores in Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Whitby and Windsor at the end of this month.

“We appreciate the support we’ve received from these communities over the past several years and we remain committed to serving them in the best possible way,” said Newbigging.

It cited “urbanization, technology and digitalization” as reasons for the closings and hinted it will have more of an online presence, saying it will “explore new solutions with a focus on enhancing our digital tools and improving our local service offer.”

With pickup points closing Jan. 29, the last day for customers to order is Wednesday.

In 2017 Ikea announced it planned a full-service store in London, south of Highway 401 and Wellington Road, near the Costco store. It owns a parcel of land next to Costco.

Then-London mayor Matt Brown and Stefan Stostrand, president of Ikea Canada, along with staff at London’s new pickup point, celebrate the opening of the outlet on Wonderland Road South on Dec. 2, 2015. (Free Press files)



“We can confirm we do have a purchase agreement for the site. As you know, we had previously announced plans to delay the London store project. At this time, we have no additional updates to share on the status and that project is unrelated to the decision to close the pickup and order points,” said Newbigging.

Ikea cancelled the plan for a full-service store in 2018, amid suggestions the push to online sales with Amazon and Wayfair had changed the retail landscape.

“As we all know, we are in a rapidly changing retail environment. At Ikea in Canada and globally, we are transforming our business to ensure we are fit for long-term growth,” Newbigging added. “This includes shifting expansion plans, exploring new formats and investing in e-commerce and services.”

“We still see potential in the London market and we are committed to keeping the city and community updated on plans as we evaluate the best solution for the market.  In the meantime, our focus today is on enhancing our digital tools.

The London store was supposed to be part of Ikea Canada’s shift in smaller markets. Ikea opened stores in Halifax and Quebec City.

The nearest Ikea to London is in Burlington.

Parcel and home delivery options will still be available.

At the pickup store customers were able to get the home furnishings they had ordered online.

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Unifor president Jerry Dias taken into police custody at Regina's Co-op Refinery – CBC.ca



Unifor national president Jerry Dias was arrested along with six other members of the union on Monday afternoon amid rising tensions in a dispute with the Co-op Refinery in Regina. 

The arrests came after union members set up blockades outside the refinery, contrary to a recent court order. 

“Unifor members had completely blocked the entrances/exits to the Co-op Refinery Complex, not allowing vehicles to enter or exit the property,” the Regina Police Service said in a statement. 

Dias had said at a media conference that morning that the blockades were set up by members of other Unifor locals. He argued that they therefore did not violate the injunction, which bars members of Local 594 — which represents workers at the refinery — from blocking access to the facility. 

“We’ll deal with that in court because our argument today is that we are not violating any injunction at all,” Dias said. 

Dias, on Twitter, later accused the police of picking sides, and called for more Unifor members to travel to Regina in solidarity.

Police did not confirm who else was arrested or if any charges were laid. 

Monday marked 46 days since Unifor members were locked out.

The blockades were taken down Monday evening. 

The dispute mainly comes down to pensions. A previous deal included a defined benefit pension for workers. Now the refinery is moving toward a defined contribution plan. 

The union says this amounts to taking away workers’ pensions. The refinery says it is trying to remain competitive. 

“We are going to guarantee you that not one fuel truck is going to leave this facility. From now on we’re not going anywhere,” Scott Doherty, Unifor’s lead negotiator and executive assistant to the president, said.

The refinery said in a statement that the blockades were illegal and that it is exploring legal options. 

“Unifor continues to use illegal blockades as a bullying tactic and has brought in extra people to help them to it,” the statement said. “Today’s actions by Unifor represent yet another violation of the court injunction.”

Regina police said they were monitoring the situation. In a statement, police said they were communicating with both sides to keep the peace and advising motorists to avoid the area of Ninth Avenue N., MacDonald Street and Fleet Street.

Police took Unifor members into custody after the union constructed blockades at the refinery. (Unifor/Twitter)

Before his arrest, Dias estimated that about 500 people were brought in from across Canada to Regina and said more are expected. Dias said the union also plans to increase the boycott of Co-ops across Western Canada if a deal isn’t made. 

“Clearly the only place that this dispute will be resolved will be at the bargaining table,” Dias said. 

The refinery previously said Unifor hasn’t returned to the bargaining table since September 2019. 

Police said they are monitoring the situation and advising motorists to avoid the area. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Large flare seen

A video showing a large flare at the Co-op Refinery on Saturday has been circulating on social media. 

The refinery said in a statement that the facility momentarily lost power from SaskPower. As a result, some units came down at the same time.

“The flare system did the job it is designed to do in that situation. Power was restored within a minute of the incident, and our highly skilled management team brought the refinery units back online per normal operating procedures,” the refinery said in a statement.

“Power failures happen occasionally, and our team is always prepared for an emergent scenario such as this.”

Dias said flare-ups happen when replacement workers without proper experience are running a plant. 

“We’re hoping that the safety concerns are being addressed,” Dias said. “We’re hoping that the facility is just being taken care of properly, from a maintenance point of view. But ultimately we’re not in control of that today. We wish we were but we are not.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest private-sector union, with around 310,000 members.

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Gold, industrial stocks push TSX higher



Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday with gains in gold and industrial stocks, while a holiday in the United States prompted languid trade.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially up 38.37 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 17,597.39.

The holiday commemorating slain civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States resulted in a lack of cues from the U.S.-listed shares of TSX majors.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.7 per cent as gold prices rose amid some safe-haven demand.

Industrial stocks rose 0.8 per cent as Bombardier Inc. shares increased 8.9 per cent and Ballard Power Systems Inc. closed 3.5 per cent higher.

Energy lost ground on Monday, sliding 0.1 per cent despite an increase in oil prices.

Leading the index wereWestshore Terminals Investment Corp., up 3.4 per cent, and Alamos Gold Inc., higher by 3.1 per cent.

Lagging shares were Hexo Corp., down 2.9 per cent, Encana Corp., down 2.7 per cent, and Martinrea International Inc., lower by 1.7 per cent.

European shares retreated from recent peaks on Monday as investors paused before launching into a week packed with economic data and the European Central Bank’s first policy meeting of the year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down about 0.1 per cent, after ending at a record high on Friday on optimism around U.S.-EU trade talks. Market activity was thin because of a holiday in the United States.

The benchmark European index has risen about 2 per cent so far this month, as investors bet on a recovery in global growth amid cooling U.S.-China trade tensions.

“We are seeing a little bit of a pullback, having seen a very good run in markets since the start of the year,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London, adding that there was also some profit taking ahead of a “big week” consisting of U.S. corporate earnings and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Markets will also be watching for the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) from the euro zone on Friday, with a recent Reuters poll showing that economists expect a slowdown in the bloc to have bottomed out in 2019.

Comments from ECB Chief Christine Lagarde at the central bank’s first policy meeting for the year on Thursday will also be a point of interest. The bank is expected to keep the deposit rate unchanged after cutting it in September for the first time since 2016.

“We got a massive policy stimulus announced a few months ago, and it’s going to take some time for that to filter through to the financial system. It’s unlikely that the ECB is going to act in the aftermath of that so soon,” Oanda’s Erlam said.

Oil prices rose to their highest in more than a week on Monday after two large crude production bases in Libya began shutting down amid a military blockade, risking reducing crude flows from the OPEC member to a trickle.

Brent crude was up 51 cents, or 0.8 per cent, at $65.36, having earlier touched $66 a barrel, its highest since Jan. 9.

West Texas Intermediate was up 27 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $58.81 a barrel, after rising to $59.73, the highest since Jan. 10.

Two major oilfields in southwest Libya began shutting down on Sunday after forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar closed a pipeline, potentially cutting national output to a fraction of its normal level, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.

NOC declared force majeure on crude loadings from the Sharara and El Feel oilfields, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The closure, which follows a blockade of major eastern oil ports, risked taking almost all the country’s oil output offline.


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The changing world of corporate activism



Something rare happened in the world of Canadian business this January — a CEO took a political stance publicly.

On January 12, the head of Maple Leaf Foods, Michael McCain, logged onto his company’s corporate Twitter account and criticized the Trump administration for escalating tensions with Iran.

McCain tied U.S. actions to the Ukrainian Airlines flight shot down over Tehran.



This doesn’t often happen. Corporate entities in Canada tend to stay away from controversial topics. But it is not unheard of.

Heather Reisman is the longtime CEO of Indigo Books.

She spoke with Cost of Living host Paul Haavardsrud about the times she has felt obligated to speak out.

Here is part of their conversation, starting with Reisman talking about how, in 2010, she stepped in to help an Iranian woman who was going to be stoned to death over charges of adultery.

Just five days after Reisman started an online petition, it gathered more than 70,000 names demanding that the woman be set free.

The CEO also wrote an open letter to the president of Iran urging him to release Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

“I just thought, I just can’t let this one just go by. The notion that a person would be buried up to their neck in sand and stoned to death … that initial impetus is what led to the decision to create a petition,” said Reisman.

Do you think there’s a difference between your private self and your responsibilities as a CEO of a company?

No. I think your values are your values. Absolutely … if you’re a different person when you’re at work than you are when you’re at home or when you’re on a walk thinking about what you care about, then who are you?

What do you think it is that holds a company back?

If you take a position on something that is considered controversial, there’s always the possibility that there could be some fallout that you have to navigate.

I believe, over time, your employees most value a CEO whose values are clear and strong.– Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books

For me to speak out about the importance of literacy and the fact that we are implicitly or explicitly ignoring that we are holding a whole segment of kids back from attaining rich literacy, it’s not very controversial … people may not be aware but that’s not a big risk.  You’re gonna get a gold star for that and you’re not going to risk a lot.

It’s [riskier] when you make a statement that could … cause some customers to say well, we don’t like that position, or even some employees. I believe, over time, your employees most value a CEO whose values are clear and strong and who does not depress those values if there is a business issue. In fact, the opposite.

I think your employees most respect a CEO whose values are clear, who they align with, and who they can feel confident that all of the decisions of the company will be consistent with those values.

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