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SWITZERLAND

Kamprad gives millions to house Swiss retirees

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad is using some of the fortune he made helping people furnish their homes to help a small town in Switzerland build housing for elderly people.

Kamprad gives millions to house Swiss retirees

Kamprad, now 86 years old, has decided to offer the French-speaking town of Epalinges in the canton of Lausanne 10 million francs ($10.4 million) to build special accommodation for retirees, Swiss newspaper 24 Heures reports.

The Swede, whose flatpack furniture empire has made him one of richest people in the world, is a well-known figure in the Swiss town where he has been resident for 36 years.

“Mr Kamprad insisted that the ground and walls should belong to the municipality and not to a foundation,” the town’s mayor, Maurice Mischler, told the newspaper.

The money will be used mainly to build 20 apartments, with a communal space for entertainment. Rents are to be set at an affordable rate for the new prospective tenants.

“The goal is to focus on people in need,” the mayor told online news site 24 Heures.

Some of the money will be used to fund a study examining the possibility of building fifty more such apartments.

Kamprad has requested that the apartments be constructed close to a school to facilitate communication across the generations, 24 Heures reported.

According to the newspaper, Kamprad’s apparent dislike for the town’s previous government explained why he waited until now to make his donation.

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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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