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IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad has died at the age of 91, the Swedish furniture chain has announced.

Ingvar Kamprad – who pioneered flat-pack furniture – died at his home in Småland, the company confirmed in a statement.

IKEA said that Ingvar Kamprad was “one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century”.

The billionaire, who was born in 1926 in Småland, founded IKEA at the age of 17.

Ingvar Kamprad used some money his father had given him as a gift for performing well at school despite his dyslexia.

In the later years of his life, Ingvar Kamprad faced questions over his past links to fascist groups – something he admitted, but said was a “mistake”.

Image source Flickr

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In a statement on January 28, IKEA said that Ingvar Kamprad had “peacefully passed away at his home”.

It added: “He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done.”

Ingvar Kamprad eventually stepped down from the company’s board in 2013, at the age of 87.

IKEA’s designs became popular in part because of their simplicity and value.

Ingvar Kamprad is reported to have come up with the idea of flat-pack furniture after watching an employee remove the legs from a table in order to fit it into a customer’s car.


He was renowned for his devotion to frugality, reportedly driving an old Volvo and travelling by economy class.

In a 2016 interview with Swedish television channel TV4, Ingvar Kamprad said that it was “in the nature of Småland to be thrifty”.

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Swedish furniture giant IKEA has decided to recall 29 million Malm chests of drawers in the US and Canada, after the deaths of three children in the US.

IKEA has stopped selling the drawers in the US and Canada after they toppled over and crushed the children.

Initially, the furniture retailer warned consumers to use wall mounts with them, but a third death in February prompted the recall.

The units being withdrawn are children’s chests of drawers taller than 23.5 inches and adult chests of drawers and dressers taller than 29.5 inches.

Photo IKEA

Photo IKEA

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said in addition to the three deaths since 2014, IKEA received reports of 41 tip-over incidents involving the Malm chests and dressers, resulting in 17 injuries to children between the ages of 19 months and 10 years old.

IKEA said that anyone who owns one of the pieces of furniture, and has not attached it to a wall, should take it out of the reach of children.

Consumers can choose between a refund or a free wall-anchoring repair kit.

The deaths caused by the toppling furniture prompted the CPSC to launch an education campaign to promote awareness of the problem across the industry.

The company said that it would help to promote the campaign in the US and around the world.

IKEA said in a statement: “With the Secure it! campaign, launched globally in stores and on IKEA’s website, IKEA urges customers to inspect their chests of drawers and dressers and to ensure that they are securely anchored to the wall according to assembly instructions.”

IKEA is closing its lifestyle website in Russia over fears it could flout the country’s law banning the promotion of gay values to minors.

In a statement, the furniture giant said some articles in IKEA Family Live could be viewed in Russia as gay “propaganda”.

The controversial law was approved by President Vladimir Putin in 2013, drawing criticism from rights groups.

They say it has been used to ban gay rights events, a claim Russia denies.IKEA to close lifestyle website in Russia over gay propaganda fears

In a statement, IKEA said: “When we do business, we observe the legislation of the countries where we work, therefore to avoid violations, we have taken the decision to stop publishing the magazine in Russia.”

It said the online magazine – which is published in 25 countries – “shows different aspects of people’s lives at home, regardless of their age, gender, s**ual orientation, nationality and religion”.

“The magazine reflects the values ​​of the IKEA company, including equal rights and opportunities for all.”

IKEA’s press office in Russia stressed that the company had not received any official warnings in Russia related to the “gay propaganda” law, the AFP news agency reports.

Russian authorities have so far made not commented on IKEA’s move.

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Ikea has made IkeaHackers – a fan site featuring ideas for customizing the company’s furniture – remove all adverts.

The founder of IkeaHackers.net said she had been issued with a “cease and desist” letter in March, in which Ikea had said the site’s name had infringed upon its intellectual property rights.

An agreement was reached in which IkeaHackers could keep its domain, “without commercial elements”.

Ikea has made IkeaHackers remove all adverts in a rights row

Ikea has made IkeaHackers remove all adverts in a rights row (photo Ikea Hackers)

An Ikea representative said other sites using its name “creates confusion”.

Jules Yap, a blogger living in Malaysia who started IkeaHackers in 2006, wrote in a blogpost: “Needless to say, I am crushed.

“I don’t have an issue with them protecting their trademark but I think they could have handled it better.

“I am a person, not a corporation. A blogger who obviously is on their side. Could they not have talked to me like normal people do without issuing a C&D [cease and desist]?”

Jules Yap added that she had agreed to Ikea’s demand to remove advertising because she did not have “deep enough pockets to fight a mammoth company in court”.

Fans of the site, which Jules Yap says attracts about 180,000 visitors per week, expressed their outrage at the decision on social media sites.

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Lufsig, a stuffed toy wolf stocked by IKEA, has sold out in Hong Kong, after it became an unlikely symbol of anti-government protest.

Based on the Red Riding Hood fairytale wolf, the toy flew off the shelves as people queued up for it from morning.

An anti-government protester is said to have thrown the toy at Hong Kong’s leader CY Leung over the weekend.

Its Chinese name sounds similar to a Cantonese profanity and critics have long nicknamed Mr Leung “the wolf”.

A spokesman for IKEA Hong Kong said that customers arrived at the stores to queue for the toy at 07:00 local time and that by 11:10 the wolf had sold out.

IKEA’s Lufsig has sold out in Hong Kong, after it became an unlikely symbol of anti-government protest

IKEA’s Lufsig has sold out in Hong Kong, after it became an unlikely symbol of anti-government protest

IKEA did not comment on any political message being read into the small stuffed animal, but it did say that none of its products in Hong Kong, including its soft toy range, had Chinese names.

The wolf in question is called Lufsig in Hong Kong as it is elsewhere in the world.

However, IKEA’s website for mainland China features the toy with a Chinese name, which sounds similar to a profanity in the Cantonese dialect.

CY Leung has long been labeled “the wolf” by his opponents because his name resembles the Chinese word for wolf and they accuse him of being cunning.

The toy even has its own Facebook page featuring spoof pictures of the wolf in various locations, including one with an image of the chief executive’s face superimposed on top.

CY Leung was appointed as Hong Kong’s chief executive by a committee last year and has suffered from extremely poor popularity ratings.

Among his tasks will be introducing a blueprint for universal suffrage allowing Hong Kong residents to choose his successor in 2017.

His critics are skeptical of his ability to manage this process because of his ties with Beijing.

Meanwhile IKEA says that new stock of Lufsig is expected in early January 2014.

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IKEA France directors are being investigated by French prosecutors over allegations that they snooped on employees and customers.

Chief executive Stefan Vanoverbeke, his predecessor Jean-Louis Baillo, and chief financial officer Dariusz Rychert were arrested on Monday.

They are accused of trying to obtain information on employees and customers from police files.

Similar legal action has been taken against at least two police officers.

The IKEA bosses face accusations of “complicity to collect personal data” and “complicity to violate professional secrecy”.

The move comes after police searched the company’s premises earlier this month.

The scandal first came to light last year after an IKEA insider leaked emails between the company and a security company to the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine.

IKEA France directors are being investigated by French prosecutors over allegations that they snooped on employees and customers

IKEA France directors are being investigated by French prosecutors over allegations that they snooped on employees and customers

The emails suggested that the firm was seeking access to records about its staff and customers from a police database holding millions of names and the personal information of criminals, victims and even witnesses.

Two unions have filed complaints against IKEA, accusing them of spying on hundreds of employees and customers over a period of five years.

Since January, 10 people have been placed under formal investigation including four police officers and the company’s former head of security.

Stefan Vanoverbek’s lawyer, Alexis Gulbin, said his “client totally disputes his involvement in this matter”.

“He’s calmly awaiting the next steps in the process. He was the one who took corrective measures as soon as the problems were discovered,” said Alexis Gulbin.

Last year IKEA France suspended and later fired its head of risk management and three of its senior directors.

Since then the company has also put in place a new code of conduct.

A spokeswoman for IKEA France said the firm was aware of the latest developments and would continue to assist the authorities.

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Ikea has decided to withdraw nearly 18,000 of its elk meat lasagnes from sale in Europe after they were found to contain pork.

The Swedish company said sales were stopped in late March, and tests confirmed the contamination on Friday.

Ikea said the pork had no health risks, but that it did not “tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications”.

This is the latest in a series of meat contamination scandals across Europe.

Ikea has decided to withdraw nearly 18,000 of its elk meat lasagnes from sale in Europe after they were found to contain pork

Ikea has decided to withdraw nearly 18,000 of its elk meat lasagnes from sale in Europe after they were found to contain pork

Ikea was among several companies whose meat products were found to contain horsemeat. Earlier this year it withdrew its meatballs from sale in its restaurants and grocery departments.

In a statement, the furniture giant said sales of the Lasagne Alg – elk lasagne – were suspended last month after Belgian authorities detected pork in them.

Further tests were carried out, and Ikea confirmed that one batch of the lasagne made by the suppliers Familjen Dafgard, with an expiry date in January 2014, contained 1.4% pork.

A total of 17,600 lasagnes have been removed from the shelves.

Swedish newspaper the Local quoted the meat suppliers as saying the contamination was due to its facilities not being cleaned properly between the handling of different animals and that it was taking steps to improve its practices.

“Together with our supplier, we have implemented improvements to ensure that our products should not contain any other ingredients than those declared on the packages,” said the Ikea statement.

“Ikea is committed to serving and selling high-quality food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment and the people who produce it.”

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Ikea has decided to withdraw a type of almond cake from its restaurants after samples were found to be contaminated by coliform bacteria.

Traces of the bacteria were found in two batches of the cake that came from a Swedish supplier and went through Ikea’s health checks.

The cake has been withdrawn from 23 countries, said the furniture company.

None of the infected batches had gone on sale, Ikea said.

Ikea added that no pathogenic bacteria, such as E coli – which is considered dangerous to humans – had been found in the affected cake.

Last month Ikea withdrew meatballs from sale in some of its restaurants after it was suspected they contained traces of horse DNA.

The meatballs in 1kg packs were made in Sweden, and labelled as beef and pork.

Ikea has decided to withdraw a type of almond cake from its restaurants after samples were found to be contaminated by coliform bacteria

Ikea has decided to withdraw a type of almond cake from its restaurants after samples were found to be contaminated by coliform bacteria

The latest withdrawal comes after Chinese quarantine officials confirmed that 1,872 kg of chocolate almond cake imported by the Swedish company had been destroyed.

The Swedish company said there was no health risk associated with consuming the contaminated product.

“Traces of coliform bacteria have been found in two isolated production batches of almond cake with chocolate and butterscotch, produced for the Restaurant, from one supplier in Sweden,” said an Ikea statement.

“The production batches have, as per safety and quality routines, been tested for bacteria that can cause health issues, such as E coli, and none of these pathogen bacteria have been found.

“However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sale in the 23 affected countries.”

Ikea has stores in 38 countries. The company’s net profits rose 8% to 3.2 billion euros over the 2011-12 financial year.

Ikea has decided to halt sales of its meatballs in Sweden after meatballs set for sale at its stores in the Czech Republic were found to contain horsemeat.

The discovery comes as European Union agriculture ministers meet in Brussels for talks widely expected to focus on the growing horsemeat scandal.

Inspectors in the Czech Republic said horsemeat was found in meatballs made in Sweden labelled as beef and pork.

The scandal began last month with frozen meals and burgers.

It spread from the UK and Ireland, with traces of horsemeat and horse DNA being found in food across the EU.

Supermarkets across Europe have had to withdraw affected prepared meals from their shelves.

Some 760kg (1,675 lb) of the Swedish-style meatballs were intercepted and stopped from reaching Czech shelves, officials told the Associated Press.

Horsemeat was also found in beef burgers imported from Poland, the Czech State Veterinary Administration said.

The labelling of the origin of meat and the traceability of the products will be high on the agenda at the EU ministers meeting.

Ikea has decided to halt sales of its meatballs in Sweden after meatballs set for sale at its stores in the Czech Republic were found to contain horsemeat

Ikea has decided to halt sales of its meatballs in Sweden after meatballs set for sale at its stores in the Czech Republic were found to contain horsemeat

Europe’s food retailers depend on a complex network of brokers, cold stores and meat-cutting plants around the continent from which to source the ingredients wherever they are cheapest.

The evidence of the past few weeks shows that national food safety authorities have failed to identify a problem in the supply chain over a significant period of time, he adds.

While the original agenda of the EU meeting included support for rural communities and the common fisheries policy, it is expected ministers will now try to come up with measures to tackle the horsemeat scandal.

Those could include a pan-European labelling project for frozen food, a move which has the backing of France and Germany.

Paris and Berlin both want compulsory labelling and traceability.

At least a dozen countries are involved in the horsemeat affair, which implicates some of the biggest meat processors and food producers.

Italy joined the list on Saturday, reporting horsemeat in some lasagne products.

On Friday, Germany’s consumer affairs ministry announced it had found traces of horse DNA in 67 of 830 food products tested.

Irish authorities on Friday suspended production at one processing plant after horsemeat was found labelled as beef.

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IKEA has said it “deeply regrets” the use of forced labor by political prisoners in communist East Germany.

The Swedish furniture giant asked accountants Ernst & Young to look into the matter, dating back to the 1970s.

The study, now published, indicates that political and criminal prisoners were involved in manufacturing for IKEA suppliers.

It also said that IKEA representatives at the time knew that political prisoners were possibly used.

IKEA gave contracts to the East German government in the 1970s.

Former political prisoners of the Stasi, the feared secret police, said they worked on the furniture, prompting IKEA to commission the Ernst & Young report.

Those former prisoners may now expect compensation.

“We deeply regret that this could happen. Using political prisoners in production has never been accepted within the IKEA Group,” said Jeanette Skjelmose, IKEA’s sustainability manager.

IKEA has said it deeply regrets the use of forced labor by political prisoners in communist East Germany

IKEA has said it deeply regrets the use of forced labor by political prisoners in communist East Germany

The company said that although it took steps to try to ensure that prisoners were not used in production, “it is now clear that these measures were not effective enough”.

Jeanette Skjelmose added that IKEA now had one of the most rigorous codes of conduct for suppliers and this, together with close co-operation with suppliers and external inspections, effectively reduced the risk of something similar happening again.

“IKEA had contracts with GDR Enterprises to produce their furniture here,” said Dr. Hubertus Knabe, director of the Stasi Prison Memorial, a former prison that has been turned into a museum.

“They didn’t ask who were producing their furniture and under what kind of conditions,” he said prior to the report being published.

“In each case you are responsible [for] with whom you are dealing and if you are dealing with dictatorship, if you don’t have a look under what kind of conditions your furniture is produced, then you are responsible for that.”

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IKEA has said it regrets that images of women are missing from the Saudi version of its catalogue.

Women are clearly present in corresponding images in the firm’s English-language catalogue.

The Swedish furniture company said “excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the IKEA Group values”.

It attributed the gaffe to the fact its Saudi operation is run by a franchisee.

IKEA Saudi catalogue removes women from its pages

IKEA Saudi catalogue removes women from its pages

Several images in the catalogue, published on IKEA’s Saudi website, show women completely absent in a number of promotional scenes.

The same images in other versions of the catalogue include women.

IKEA said it was reviewing its “routines” in response to the issue.

“We support the fundamental human rights of all people and we do not accept any kind of discrimination,” the company said in a statement.

Islamic Sharia law is applied strictly in Saudi Arabia, where the ruling Al Saud family espouses a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism.

Women live under various restrictions, including no right to drive, and must be covered whenever they are outside the home.

Saudi leader King Abdullah is seen as trying to cautiously introduce reforms, some aimed at loosening restrictions on women’s right to vote.

IKEA, which posted net profits of almost 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) last year, operates three branches in Saudi Arabia.

 

Ikea, the Swedish furniture company, famous for its cheap but quirky products and its army of fans, has launched its first line of prefabricated houses in the U.S., named the Aktiv.

Ikea collaborated with Oregon architectural firm Ideabox to design the homes which will cost around $86,500 each.

The Swedish-themed dwelling is a one-bedroom home centered around space-saving furniture and products.

The hip and modern house was outfitted taking into consideration the demands from Pacific-Northwest homeowners, and is designed to be eco-friendly.

Ikea collaborated with Oregon architectural firm Ideabox to design the homes which will cost around $86,500 each

Ikea collaborated with Oregon architectural firm Ideabox to design the homes which will cost around $86,500 each

The house is equipped with facilities such as a dual-flush toilet and energy-star electronics.

A combination of fiber-cement siding, corrugated metal, and a standing-seam metal roof make up the exterior of this all-in-one home.

According to Jim Russell, president of Ideabox, the complete home “brings all the fun and design of Ideabox houses together with all the function, design, and personality of Ikea”.

The home will be furnished with a complete Ikea package that includes Tundra maple flooring, Pax wardrobes, and Abstrakt cabinets.

Ideabox and Ikea displayed the model house this week at the Portland Home & Garden Show at the Portland Expo Center in Oregon.

The Aktiv, Swedish for active, is being marketed as “your own personal Euro designer flat… only where you want it!”

Prefab homes have already taken off in Europe.