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ECONOMY

Ikea founder calls for more job cuts

Swedish furniture retailing giant Ikea needs to shed more employees, company founder Ingvar Kamprad said in an interview published on Monday.

Ikea founder calls for more job cuts

Ikea has already made 5,000 employees redundant around the world, but it now appears the company is prepared to let more people go.

“We need to reduce our personnel further, especially within manufacturing and logistics. It’s both about adjusting to sales which are well below what we budgeted for and becoming more effective,” Kamprad told the Dagens Industri (DI) newspaper.

In Sweden, Ikea has already cut 420 positions.

Kamprad, who is 83 and set up Ikea in 1943 as a teenager, explained sales were 7 percent below what the company had budgeted for.

“That corresponds to 8 billion kronor ($1 billion) on an annual basis which we have to adjust to,” he was quoted as saying.

Kamprad, who now lives in tax exile in Switzerland, also said the company would hire a few thousand people to work at its 14 new stores planned to open worldwide this year.

Ikea is an unlisted, privately-owned company and therefore does not release regular earnings reports, but outgoing managing director Anders Dahlvig has said it expects sales of €21.5 billion ($30.1 billion) excluding currency effects for its fiscal year ending August 31st.

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ECONOMY

Swedish bank’s IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

A technical problem at Sweden's Swedbank on Thursday night gave customers a nasty surprise, with their account balances inexplicably going negative, payments impossible, and Swish payments no longer working.

Swedish bank's IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

By 11.30pm, more than 2,000 Swedbank customers had reported the fault to the site Downdetector, and the problem was still not solved by 17.00pm on Friday. 

“We have an ongoing IT disruption where certain customers see an incorrect balance on their accounts,” a message on the bank’s app read. “The reason is a planned update to our internal systems which went wrong. We apologise, of course, for that and are working as quickly as possible to fix the problem.” 

The Swish payment service has also been affected, with the service, which is owned collectively by Swedish banks, reporting on its site that there was a “technical disruption at Swedbank and Sparbank which might affect Swish payments from these banks”. 

Some Swedbank customers posted their negative account balances on Twitter, expressing shock at the incorrect figures. 

The disruption comes at the worst possible time for many Swedes. Many people are paid on the 25th of the month, meaning this Friday marks the start of the payday weekend. Many will have also scheduled their bill payments for this Friday. 

Marko Saric from Malmö saw his account balance drop by 1.2 million kronor, going half a million kronor into the red. 

“It’s just totally crazy,” he told SVT. “We were going to go out and shop for the weekend. It’s lovely weather and the kids want to go out, but we can’t use our card. We’ve got no cash. Everything is in the bank.” 

“You’re just completely blocked. Colleagues need to make emergency food parcels for you. It’s just crazy that something like this should happen.” 

In its statement, the bank assured customers that their money was “secure”, and that the bank still had the correct information on what their account balance should be. 

“Customers who feel that they have suffered economic damage as a result of the disruption should contact the bank,” the message said.

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