Ikea to hire 10,000 new staff annually

Swedish furniture giant Ikea plans to hire tens of thousands of workers over the next few years as it opens dozens of new stores, including 24 in the coming year, it said in the online edition of Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri on Monday.

“We have to hire at least some 10,000 people a year to meet our goals of continued growth,” Ikea chief executive Anders Dahlvig said in an interview.

The company plans to double its sales over the next five or six years, he said.

“It gets tougher and tougher to maintain high growth the bigger we get. But I’m still convinced that we can do it. We have proven that we have a successful concept that customers appreciate and the potential for growth is still incredibly big,” he said.

Ikea is unlisted and therefore does not publish annual reports. But according to Dagens Industri, the financial year that ended in August was the “best ever” since Ikea was founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who at 80 remains heavily involved in the business.

Sales rose last year from 14.8 billion euros to 17.3 billion, the paper said.

Dahlvig would not confirm the figures, but said: “We are of course very pleased. We set an ambitious goal and we were successful.”

The company expects sales to grow by 16 percent this year, thanks entirely to organic growth in Europe and the United States.

“We plan to open 24 new stores this year, which is many more than last year” when 16 stores were opened, Dahlvig said.

He voiced hopes that the German market, Ikea’s single largest market and where three new stores would be opened this year, would drive growth.

While Europe and North America remain Ikea’s main markets, the group is now trying to break into Russia, where three new stores are to open this year, and China, where it has already opened stores in Beijing and Shanghai and where a new store is to open in Chengdu.

“They are very interesting markets as their purchasing power is growing fast. It’s very important to be present this early in the game,” he said.


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.