Baltimore Sun

Ikea fur­ni­ture gets sec­ond life

Re­tailer to buy back used fur­ni­ture to halt ‘ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion’

- By Der­rick Bryson Tay­lor Business · Furniture · Consumer Goods · Black Friday & Cyber Monday · Interior Design · United Kingdom · Australia · Canada · France · Germany · Italy · Japan · Russia · Ireland · United States of America · Philadelphia Union · Shopping

Mov­ing up in the world or at least mov­ing homes, cus­tomers have for gen­er­a­tions faced an awk­ward ques­tion: What do you do with old Ikea fur­ni­ture, so care­fully as­sem­bled but so ready to be re­placed?

Ikea, the Swedish re­tailer with a rep­u­ta­tion for bar­gain fur­ni­ture — if not durable fur­ni­ture — has of­fered a so­lu­tion. It an­nounced that next month it will be­gin a global buy­back pro­gram of un­wanted Ikea fur­ni­ture to en­cour­age cus­tomers to take a stand against ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion.

The pro­gram, called “Buy Back,” will be­gin in Bri­tain on Nov. 24, just ahead of Black Fri­day, an Ikea spokes­woman said this week. The pro­gram will also run in 26 other coun­tries, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Canada, France, Ger­many, Italy, Ja­pan and Rus­sia. The ini­tia­tive has no end date in Bri­tain or Ire­land.

Al­though Ikea has var­i­ous buy­back pro­grams run­ning at stores in many coun­tries, the com­pany said Novem­ber’s event would be the first time 27 coun­tries have scaled this ser­vice to­gether.

“By mak­ing sus­tain­able liv­ing more sim­ple and ac­ces­si­ble, Ikea hopes that the ini­tia­tive will help its cus­tomers take a stand against ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion this Black Fri­day and in the years to come,” the com­pany said in a news re­lease.

Ab­sent from the list of par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries was the United States. Ikea did not im­me­di­ately say why the pro­gram would not be im­ple­mented there.

“It is a coun­try de­ci­sion, and Ikea Re­tail U.S. will not par­tic­i­pate in the buy­back pro­gram,” the spokes­woman said. “The U.S. is cur­rently ex­plor­ing ways to bring Buy Back to the coun­try in the fu­ture.”

She added, “This year, they will use the tra­di­tional Black Fri­day to fo­cus on other sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives and to pro­mote sus­tain­able liv­ing among their cus­tomers.”

Cus­tomers sell­ing back fur­ni­ture will re­ceive an Ikea re­fund card, with no ex­pi­ra­tion date, the news re­lease said.

The con­di­tion of the item sold back to Ikea will de­ter­mine the value.

Ikea fur­ni­ture in “new” con­di­tion with no scratches could re­ceive 50% of the orig­i­nal price, the re­lease said. Fur­ni­ture in “very good” con­di­tion with mi­nor scratches may re­ceive 40% of the orig­i­nal price, and “well-used” items, with sev­eral scratches, could re­ceive 30% of the orig­i­nal price. The items will be resold as sec­ond­hand in the

“As-Is” sec­tion of stores.

Any item that can’t be resold will be re­cy­cled or do­nated to lo­cal com­mu­nity projects, the com­pany said.

While the pro­gram has ig­nited in­ter­est among Ikea lovers, not all of the com­pany’s fur­ni­ture prod­ucts will be el­i­gi­ble for it. Among the items the pro­gram will ac­cept are dressers, book­cases and shelf units, small ta­bles, cab­i­nets, din­ing ta­bles and desks, chairs and stools with­out up­hol­stery, and chests of draw­ers.

The ini­tia­tive stands in con­trast to an ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paign that Ikea used in the early 2000s, en­cour­ag­ing con­sumers to re­place items more fre­quently and earn­ing the com­pany some scorn for sell­ing “dis­pos­able fur­ni­ture.” In one ad from 2002, somber pi­ano mu­sic plays as a wo­man takes an old lamp out to the trash in the pour­ing rain.

“Many of you feel bad for this lamp,” a man sud­denly says in a Swedish ac­cent. “That is be­cause you’re crazy. It has no feel­ings, and the new one is much bet­ter.”

Al­most 20 years later, the com­pany has em­braced sus­tain­abil­ity, which Peter Jelkeby, coun­try re­tail man­ager for Ikea UK and Ire­land, called “the defin­ing is­sue of our time.” The com­pany, he said, “is com­mit­ted to be­ing part of the so­lu­tion to pro­mote sus­tain­able con­sump­tion and com­bat cli­mate change.”

 ?? NEETA SATAM/THE NEW YORK TIMES ?? A to­tal of 27 coun­tries will take part in Ikea’s fur­ni­ture buy­back pro­gram, but stores in the U.S. will not par­tic­i­pate at this time.
NEETA SATAM/THE NEW YORK TIMES A to­tal of 27 coun­tries will take part in Ikea’s fur­ni­ture buy­back pro­gram, but stores in the U.S. will not par­tic­i­pate at this time.

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