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Ikea lawyers review Chinese ‘copycat’ store

Swedish furniture firm Ikea has instructed its lawyers to consider whether a newly opened store in southern China constitutes an infringement of its trademark.

Ikea lawyers review Chinese 'copycat' store

“For us it is very important to protect Ikea’s brand and the expectations of the customer. This includes soft values such as customer service and security,” said Ikea Sweden spokesperson Ylva Magnusson to The Local.

“When a customer goes somewhere else and thinks they are in Ikea, then it could harm our brand.”

The warehouse has been opened by Chinese firm 11 Furniture and is located in the city of Kunming in Yunnan province in southern China, according to a Reuters report.

The store is reported to constitute 10,000 square metres spread over four floors, featuring similar signs, furnished rooms and yellow and blue colour scheme of the popular Swedish firm.

Ylva Magnusson told The Local that Inter Ikea Systems, the owner of the Ikea concept, has instructed its lawyers to look into the matter.

“The legal department is going to look at this and see if our trademark has been encroached,” she said.

This is not the first time however that Ikea has been hit by similar problems.

“Ikea is a strong brand and it has happened that parts of our concept have been copied before, but not an entire store concept,” Ylva Magnusson said.

Magnusson added that part of the firm’s strategy for combating the spread of counterfeit goods is to continue to open new branches in China to meet demand.

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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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