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Ikea offices raided by Russian investigators

Russian investigators on Friday searched offices belonging to an Ikea subsidiary on the outskirts of Moscow, a spokeswoman for the Swedish group said, adding it was cooperating with the authorities.

Ikea offices raided by Russian investigators
Ikea Russia head Per Kaufmann outside a store in Moscow. Photo: TT

"We have a search of documents going on in Khimki Business Park" north of Moscow, a spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The facility is a real estate subsidiary of the Ikea Group.

"We are cooperating with the representatives of the authorities," she said. "This has nothing to do with the store."

Spokeswoman Tatyana Rusakova told the TASS news agency that "the investigation is being carried out as part of a case about a piece of land belonging to Ikea".

TASS reported that the investigation dated back to 2012.

Ikea has 14 branches in Russia which have proved a hit with the upwardly-mobile middle classes keen to upgrade their Soviet-era furniture.

The Swedish flatpack giant reported "strong growth" in Russia in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Russian sales in 2013 went up 18 percent, TASS reported.

A Russian court in 2012 convicted a Turkish national of helping a Swedish executive at Ikea to extort a bribe.

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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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