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IKEA

Global furniture chain.

U.S. Headquarters:
420 Alan Wood Rd.
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Employees: 127,000 worldwide, 15,000 in North America
North American President: Mike Ward
Privately held

Website: http://www.ikea.com

Career Site

IKEA is a Dutch-retailing giant that sells low-price products, including furniture, accessories, bathrooms and kitchens at 316 mammoth stores around the world including 37 in the USA. Stores range in size from 250,000-350,000 square feet. The stores are best known for selling shelves, tables and sofas. Much of the furniture is self-installed and offers a simple, clean design.

IKEA stores stock up to 10,000 items and feature everything for the home, all under one roof: sofas, beds, tables, chairs, textiles, kitchen utensils, flooring,rugs,kitchens,bathrooms,lamps,plants and more. Items are often displayed in room settings. Stores are so large they also include a restaurant which serve Swedish meatballs and more.

The IKEA Group is owned by a foundation, Stichting INGKA Foundation , which is registered in the Netherlands. The foundation owns INGKA Holding B.V. the parent company for all IKEA Group companies - from the industrial group Swedwood to the sales companies that own the stores in the various countries. Inter IKEA Systems B.V., the owner of the IKEA concept and trademark, has franchising agreements with every IKEA store in the world. The IKEA Group is the biggest franchisee of Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

IKEA said it has nearly 700 million visitors to its stores in 2010.

IKEA gave all of its U.S. workers a free bike in 2010.

History

1943 - Ingvar Kamprad founded Ikea. When Ingvar was 17, his father gave him a gift for succeeding in his studies. The gift was used to establish his own business. The name IKEA was formed from the founder's initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up. IKEA originally sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewellery and nylon stockings - whatever Ingvar found a need for that he could fill with a product at a reduced price.

1953 - The furniture showroom is opened in Älmhult Sweden. The IKEA range focused to home furnishing products in the early 1950s. The opening of the showroom was an important moment in the development of the IKEA concept. For the first time customers could see and touch our furnishings before ordering. This came about as a solution to a problem. IKEA found itself in a price war with its main competitor. As both companies lowered prices, quality came at risk. By opening the showroom, IKEA could in three dimensions present its products with function, quality and low price. And people did just what IKEA had hoped: they wisely chose the products with the best value for the money.

1955 - IKEA begins designing its own furniture. There were several reasons for IKEA to start designing its own furniture. But what actually led to this-possibly our best move ever-was quite ironic. Pressure from our competitors caused suppliers to boycott IKEA. This reaction to our early success required us to begin designing our own furniture, and became the basis for future growth. Ultimately, this would lead to innovative design and improved function at lower prices. Then, by lucky inspiration, one early IKEA employee decided to remove a table's legs so it would fit into a car, and to avoid transport damage. From that point on, we began to think in terms of design for flat packaging. Which led to even further reductions in price for our customers. A pattern had begun to establish itself at IKEA. Turning problems into opportunities.

1965 - The IKEA store in Stockholm is opened. Thousands of people stood in line for the opening of our flagship store. The 45,800 square meter store has a circular design, inspired by New York's Guggenheim Museum. The success created huge capacity problems in serving the customers. By opening the warehouse and letting people serve themselves, an important part of the IKEA concept was born.

1973 - The first store outside Scandinavia is opened outside Zurich, Switzerland. Its success paved the way for a quick expansion in Germany, which is the largest IKEA market today.

1985 - The first IKEA store opens in the USA in Philadelphia. At first, the company wasn't sure the USA needed IKEA. But it soon discovered there was a need everywhere for useful, attractive home furnishings at prices for every wallet.

Updated July 6, 2011