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Ikea beefs up store security following blasts

Swedish furniture giant Ikea said Friday it had raised its security level across Europe to make its customers feel safer after booby-trapped products at several of its stores have caused small explosions in recent weeks.

Ikea beefs up store security following blasts

“Since security is of the utmost importance to us and we want to ensure that our customers feel safe coming to Ikea, we have decided to raise the security level … at all of our stores in Europe,” company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told AFP.

“We are doing that by among other things raising the number of guards,” she said, refusing to divulge what other additional security measures were being taken.

The move comes after a string of small explosions at Ikea stores.

On June 10, a blast in the kitchen equipment department of an Ikea store in Dresden, Germany, reportedly left two customers needing hospital treatment, while booby-trapped alarm clocks also blew up at Ikea stores in Belgium, France and The Netherlands on May 30, but caused no damage or injuries.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Magnusson stressed Friday that the company had not received “any threats or any other indication that there is an increased danger,” but had decided to raise security “simply as a safety precaution aimed at making people feel safer.”

She said the company was closely monitoring police probes into the blasts, but would not comment on whether any advances had been made.

According to some media reports this week, German police are toying with the theory the blasts might be targeted at Ikea’s 85-year-old founder Ingvar Kamprad over his well-known Nazi sympathies in his youth.

Ikea had Thursday asked German police if there was any basis to the reports, “and we were told there wasn’t,” Magnusson said.

Kamprad himself told the Swedish daily Expressen he did not think there were any concrete suspicions yet and that he was not part of the probe.

“The police have not at all asked me about what I know and don’t know,” he said.

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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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