Ikea invests in Portugal

Swedish furniture giant Ikea plans to invest 32 million euros to build a factory in Portugal aimed mostly at the export market, the country's Economy Minister Manuel Pinho said on Tuesday.

It will be set up in the town of Ponte de Lima, some 400 kilometres north of Lisbon, create some 450 direct and indirect jobs, and export about 90 percent of its production, he told state radio RDP.

The location was selected by the firm because of existence of an Atlantic port nearby and the presence in the area of several furniture manufacturers who will be eligible for sub-contracting by the Swedish gaint, the minister said.

“This is an extremely interesting project by a firm which has a great capacity for design and marketing,” Pinho told the radio station.

The Portuguese government and Ikea were to sign later on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding outlining the plan to set up the factory, the first by the Swedish firm in Portugal.

Ikea opened its first-ever store in Lisbon in June 2004 which has exceeded the firm’s initial sales projections and it plans to open a second outlet near second-city Oporto in 2007.



Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.