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INDIA

Ikea dismantles plans for stores in India

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has scuttled plans to open stores in India due to regulations preventing foreigners from owning single brand retailers, the company announced on Thursday.

Ikea dismantles plans for stores in India

Ikea spokeswoman Charlotte Lindgren said a rule preventing stores being 100 percent foreign owned was the reason behind the move.

“We have been having problems with the regulations in India so we took the decision to postpone our expansion because we want to have full ownership of our retail operations,” Lindgren told AFP, denying that the global economic slowdown had influenced the move.

Indian regulations cap foreign investment in single-brand retailers at 51 percent.

Ikea said India remained “a long term potential market” and would continue to lobby for the existing regulations to be changed.

“If and when changes are made to the FDI (foreign direct investment) regulations allowing 100 percent ownership of single brand retailers then Ikea will reconsider its position,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s comments came after India’s Economic Times reported earlier on Thursday that the Swedish company’s planned $1 billion entry into the Indian market had been put on hold after talks with the government broke down.

Ikea announced in 2006 that it wanted to open its first store in India by 2011.

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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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