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IKEA

Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is going to use its Gävle location to test out whether it can go completely cash-free nationwide.

Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden
Ikea will go cash-free throughout Sweden if the test is a success. Photo: TT
Ikea said that customers in Gävle, an eastern city best known for its giant straw Christmas goat, were strongly in favour of abandoning cash. 
 
“In our surveys, the vast majority of customers have said that cash payments are no longer important. Today we use a fair amount of resources on handling cash but we’d prefer to use them on something else,” Patric Burstein, the head of customer relations at the Gävle store, told Dagens Nyheter. 
 
Ikea said that its cashless test would begin in Gävle on October 1st. If all goes well, the company plans to eliminate cash payments in all of its Swedish locations. 
 
Department store Åhléns is also testing the idea of going cashless, with three of its locations currently not accepting cash payments. 
 
Swedes use their debit cards three times as frequently as most Europeans and with the popularity of smartphone payment apps like Swish, it has been predicted that Sweden will be completely cash-free by 2030.  
 
The move to ditch cash also has its naysayers, however, with some Swedes worried about the effects on rural areas, pensioners – and personal integrity.
 

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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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