Ikea founder to move home to Sweden

Flat-pack tsar Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Swedish budget furniture store Ikea, is set to move home to Sweden, where the world's fifth richest person will be taxed accordingly.

Ikea founder to move home to Sweden

“I’m moving back to Sweden to be closer to my family and old friends,” the retired entrepreneur told Swedish daily Sydsvenskan in a message relayed by his spokesman Per Heggenes.

“Since my dear wife Margareta died about one and a half years ago, there is less and less keeping me in Switzerland,” he said.

Once he returns to Sweden, Kamprad will pay Swedish taxes again – a hot topic ever since he moved from his homeland.

“Ingvar will pay tax on his income, just like everyone else in Sweden,” Heggenes told the paper.

“But the move has no other tax consequences.”

Kamprad, 87, who set up the budget shop in the forties before the success of its affordable flatpack wares went viral across the globe, is planning to move home before the end of the year. He currently resides in Switzerland.

He is likely to return to southern Sweden and the town of Älmhult after spending the past four decades abroad.

Ikea spokeswoman Josefine Thorell confirmed the news to AFP, saying Kamprad had always planned “to spend the rest of his life in Sweden” and that he hoped to move “before the end of the year”.

Since his move to Switzerland in the 1970s, Kamprad has led a quiet life in the village of Epalinges, near Lausanne.

His habit of driving an old Volvo to the supermarket and taking advantage of discounts with a customer loyalty card has earned him a Swedish media reputation of being almost stingy.

But although, Kamprad is in the midst of preparing his retirement, he will not totally give up his day job.

Upon his resignation from Inter Ikea, he said he would continue to spend time in Ikea stores and factories, and remain on the supervisory board of the Liechtenstein-based Interogo Foundation, which owns the Inter Ikea Group.

The Bloomberg index of the world’s wealthiest people put Kamprad in fifth place last month. His youngest son, Mathias Kamprad, recently took over as chairman of mother company Inter Ikea Group.

TT/AFP/The Local/at

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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.