Ikea chairman denies family financial feud

The chairman of the Swedish furniture giant has said reports of a bitter family row over money are "extremely distressing" amid reports that founder Ingvar Kamprad is at loggerheads with his sons over the flat pack brand's fortune.

Ikea chairman denies family financial feud

Claims in a new book,’Ikea Moving to the Future’ (Ikea på väg mot framtiden), about internal family friction have rocked the Kamprad family claims Göran Grosskopf, who is the chairman of the board of directors for the Ikea group.

He initially declined to comment on the findings in the book but has since added that the Kamprad family is “naturally extremely distressed and disappointed” over suggestions there is an internal power struggle.

“In all families there are conflicts of course but I do not know of any conflict which in any way affected the Ikea group,” Grosskopf told Dagens Industri.

The book penned by Lennart Dahlgren, the former head of Ikea in Russia, and researchers Stellan Björk and Karl von Schulzenheim claimed that Kamprad’s sons hired a star lawyer to dispute the family fortune. Founder Kamprad is estimated to have as much as €3.2 billion in net wealth.

As yet, the Kamprad family have yet to issue a statement on the book with Grosskopf saying the sons haven’t read the book in its entirety.

“They have not had the chance to read the whole book and I don’t know if they will comment on it when they have,” he said.

Grosskopf downplayed the reports in the book which claimed that the alleged familial battle led to Kamprad senior falling into bad health.

“From the excerpts I have read there isn’t much evidence,” he added.

Ingvar Kamprad,87, founded Ikea in 1943 establishing it into one of the largest retail giants in the world. He has resided in Switzerland since 1976 but announced in June that he intends to return to Sweden by the end of the year.

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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.