Ikea boss reveals profits in Christmas speech

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has made a rare admission of the company's profits. The Swedish furniture giant, which usually keeps its profits secret, made 25 billion kronor in the last financial year, Kamprad revealed in a Christmas speech to staff last week.

Kamprad made the revelation at an event at the company’s headquarters in Älmhult, southern Sweden, in what Swedish newspapers are interpreting as a slip. While not directly putting a figure on the profits, he said that the company had paid around 6.5 billion kronor in tax, which he said was 25.3 percent of profits. This would put total profits at over 25 billion kronor.

A spokesman for Ikea was on Thursday refusing to add to the revelations.

“We do not usually comment on profits. I have nothing to add,” said Fredrik Wahrolén, information director for the company’s Swedish operations, to local newspaper Smålands Posten.

The company’s sales figures have increased four-fold in the past ten years. Ikea made sales of 160 billion kronor in the year to August – a record for the company. Sales in Sweden for the last financial year exceeded 10 billion kronor.


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.