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IKEA

Ikea opens first U.S. manufacturing facility

Swedish furniture maker Ikea celebrated the opening of its first factory in the United States on Wednesday.

Swedwood, a subsidiary of home furnishings giant, has 40 plants worldwide. The $281 million plant in Danville, Virginia will employ 300 people by the end of 2009, said Swedwood North America president Bengt Danielsson.

Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine was at Wednesday’s ceremony to hail the economic boost to the ailing region along the North Carolina border, formerly a stronghold for the tobacco industry.

Swedwood received $12 million in incentives from in state and local authorities, as well as the Virginia Tobacco Commission funds.

“They’re a lot more forward-thinking than some other communities in this corridor,” Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth said.

The Swedwood operation alone won’t shore up the economy of a region with one of Virginia’s highest unemployment rates.

But local officials say the plant opening is an indication that things are going in the right direction.

Ikea currently operates 34 retail furniture outlets in the United States.

IKEA

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.

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