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IKEA

Kamprad pledges Ikea ‘transparency’

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Swedish furnishings giant Ikea, has promised more transparency over the firm's business affairs, saying that it has nothing to hide after a slew of allegations in recent years.

Kamprad pledges Ikea 'transparency'

“We have nothing to hide. There is no pretension to hide anything. We are going to go through everything and show that we follow each country’s laws and regulations,” Ingvar Kamprad, the 85-year-old billionaire who founded Ikea in

1943, told the Expressen daily.

“We will make ourselves more transparent,” he said.

Kamprad’s comments came a few months after a documentary aired on Swedish

public television, SVT, alleged the secretive foundation that controls the company was set up to avoid taxes.

Expressen reported that the Kamprad family decided Monday at a meeting where the allegations against Ikea were discussed to vow complete transparency.

Kamprad pointed out however that there was a lot of “cleaning up” to take care of, “so I’m not sure when we will be done. Maybe at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year.”

Shortly before the SVT documentary aired in January, Kamprad, who had long claimed he no longer controlled the furniture giant, admitted he still held the reins through the previously secret Intergo Foundation.

The flat-pack furniture empire famous for its big blue box warehouses has also been tangled in a bribery scandal in Russia which forced the firing of two top executives at the start of 2010.

Ikea is an unlisted, family-owned company that traditionally does not release regular earnings reports, but has in recent years published occasional figures showing earnings and sales.

In such a report in January this year, it posted a significant hike in net profit in 2010 as sales rose, especially in China, Russia and Portugal.

The group, which at the end of last year counted 127,000 employees, said Europe accounted for 79 percent of sales, with North America making up 15 percent and the Asia-Australia region the rest.

Kamprad, who started Ikea as a teenager, has lived in Switzerland since 1976 to avoid Sweden’s steep wealth taxes.

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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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