Consumer Confidential: Toys R Us hiring; Wal-Mart gets sunnier

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Here’s your who’s-on-third Thursday (I don’t know) roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Looking for work? How about a temp job as one of Santa elves? Toys R Us says it will hire about 40,000 seasonal workers for the holidays. Beginning this week and running through November, the company is accepting applications for a range of jobs around the country. Executive vice president of human resources Dan Caspersen said that ‘we are proud to create tens of thousands of jobs across the country this Christmas, while providing the potential for hardworking individuals to find a permanent position with us.’ In previous years, the company has hired between 35,000 and 45,000 holiday workers. According to a new report from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (no relation), companies are expected to hire at about the same level or less than last year’s 627,600 jobs from October through December.


--Speaking of big-box retailers, Wal-Mart is going greener. The company says it will install solar-power panels at most of its California stores. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman says the company has installed rooftop panels on about 65 California stores and plans to raise that number to more than 130 -- about three-fourths of its stores in the state -- by the end of 2013. The Arkansas-based company hopes to use solar for 20% to 30% of each store’s electricity needs. It says solar energy has cut its energy spending by more than $1 million. That’s a lesson plenty of other businesses would be wise to heed.

-- David Lazarus