German police probe Ikea blast links

German investigators said Sunday they were probing a possible link between a blast at an Ikea store in Dresden and explosions at other stores on May 30th in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

German police probe Ikea blast links

“We want to get hold of the results of the probes into the other attacks to compare them with ours and to see if it could be the same attacker or group,” public prosecutor Lorenz Hase told AFP.

He confirmed reports that a man wearing a baseball cap and large sunglasses seen running out of the Ikea store immediately after Friday’s explosion spoke English. He was confronted by an Ikea employee but allowed to go.

The explosion on Friday evening in the kitchen equipment department of the furniture store left two customers needing hospital treatment for blast trauma, reports said.

On May 30, small explosives concealed in alarm clocks detonated at Ikea furniture stores in the Belgian city of Ghent, Lille in northern France and Eindhoven in The Netherlands, causing no damage or injuries.

No one has claimed responsibility.

Ikea spokeswoman Camilla Meiby told AFP Sunday that Ikea was aware German investigators were probing a possible link, but that the firm had no other comment for now.

She added that the Swedish chain, which generates annual sales of some €23 billion ($33 billion) and operates in 41 countries, had not hiked security measures.

“We always have very high security and safety so there is nothing extra. We are just keeping the very high standard that we always have,” Meiby said.

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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.