Ikea founder mourns death of his wife

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's wife Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert has died at the age of 71.

Ikea founder mourns death of his wife

”She has passed a way after a time of serious illness,” said Ikea spokeswoman Josefin Thorell, to daily Aftonbladet.

Margaretha was the love of Ingvar Kamprad’s life and they had three sons together. According to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) the couple met when she was 20 and he was 35.

During their first married years, they lived in southern Sweden, and have since lived in Denmark and in Switzerland.

It was Margaretha’s sacrifices that made Kamprad’s dreams of Ikea possible, he said in a longer interview with Aftonbladet from 2003.

”But I, on the other hand have abused her, she has always had to come second or third in my priorities. I’d be away from my bed 200 days out of a year. And she more or less had to give up on her career, she used to be a teacher. I think sometime she has been plagued by idleness,” Kamprad said at the time.

Although Kamprad told the paper about his wife’s sacrifices and support, she always refused to see herself as a victim of the Ikea phenomenon.

According to Aftonbladet she refused to be made into a dinner companion and chose not to attend representative dinners or other Ikea functions.

”I don’t attend everything, but I attend everything that sounds amusing,” she said in an interview with regional daily Smålandsposten in 2007.

Despite this, Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert was active in the Ikea concern, although she stayed out of the limelight.

She was a board member of the of the Ikea owners’ foundation Stichting Ingka Foundation, as well as the charity foundation Stichting Ikea foundation.

According to the Aftonbladet, Ikea staff were informed of her death yesterday.

”The family ask to be allowed to honour her memory in private,” said Thorell to the paper.

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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.