Ikea company unveils rapid China expansion

Inter Ikea Centre Group, (IICG) a sister company of the Swedish furniture retailer, has announced plans to build two new shopping centres in China, an investment worth $1,2 billion.

The company unveiled projects including a sprawling shopping destination in Beijing, which will house 450 brands alongside the main attraction of the city’s second Ikea store, set to open in 2014.

A further development will be located in Wuxi in the eastern Jiangsu province and a company statement confirmed further investment in China is likely to surface in the future.

China is the group’s first investment destination outside its home of Europe where it has interest in 13 countries.

Since its flagship China store opened in Shanghai in 2003, Ikea has added a further six stores across the country.

The Chinese market accounted for about two percent of Ikea’s global total in 2008.

“Although well-known in China, Ikea’s pace of expansion has been relatively slow in the country,” said an IICG company statement.

“Now when Inter Ikea Centre Group moves into the Chinese market, both are expected to see accelerated development in China.”

IICG was founded in 2001 and is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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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.