Ikea expansion in China moves ahead

Swedish furniture giant Ikea plans to invest $60 million to set up a new outlet in northern China to cash in on the fast growing Asian market, China’s state media reported on Tuesday.

The company has inked a primary deal with local authorities of coastal Tianjin city and the construction of the new store is likely to start this summer, China Daily reported, citing Ian Duffy, president of Ikea Asia-Pacific.

“Tianjin is, without any doubt, one of the most progressive and rapidly growing cities in China now,” Duffy was quoted as saying, adding that the city will offer a golden business opportunity for Ikea.

Ikea opened its first Chinese store in Shanghai, the country’s financial hub, in 2003 and currently runs five stores across mainland China, including one in the capital Beijing.

The company plans to open new stores in Nanjing in southern China and Dalian in northern China this year and continue to open at least one or two stores each year in the country, the newspaper 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.