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Rival Retailers Failed in Effort to Cut Off Ikea's Supplies



(p. B5) Ingvar Kamprad, born on a farm in the rock-strewn Swedish region of Småland, got his start as a merchant at around age 5 by buying matches in bulk and reselling them to neighbors.

He went on to pull off a rare feat: Creating a global retailing powerhouse, the furniture chain IKEA, with over 400 stores, in a business that generally has defied globalization. IKEA's furniture has delighted bargain seekers for decades and made millions of dorm rooms and first apartments habitable, despite maddening the many customers who found the assembly instructions baffling.


. . .


One of his most successful notions was that furniture could be shipped and warehoused much more cheaply in disassembled form.


. . .


Rival retailers in Sweden, shocked by IKEA's low prices, pressured furniture makers to cut off supplies to Mr. Kamprad's company. That served only to make IKEA stronger as Mr. Kamprad found he could buy furniture much more cheaply from Polish plants. The search for foreign suppliers also helped IKEA turn itself into an international company.


. . .


Mr. Kamprad remained a penny-pincher, flying economy class and lecturing his employees that waste was sinful, according to "Leading by Design," a 1999 biography by Bertil Torekull.



For the full obituary, see:

James R. Hagerty and Saabira Chaudhuri. "IKEA's Founder Dies at 91." The Wall Street Journal (Monday, January 29, 2018): B5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Jan. 28, 2018, and has the title "Ingvar Kamprad Built Global IKEA Chain From a Single Furniture Store in Sweden.")


The autobiography of Kamprad, mentioned above, is:

Kamprad, Ingvar, and Bertil Torekull. Leading by Design: The Ikea Story New York: HarperCollins, 1999.






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