Ikea’s main operator goes local; to create net 4,000 jobs

Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea said the biggest retailer within its franchise system is to create a net 4,000 jobs over the coming two years as it expands its online presence and opens new shops in city centers to complement its trademark larger stores in the suburbs.

Ikea said the cutbacks at Ingka Group will allow it to focus “on its e-commerce platform, to better meet the needs of its customers and be more convenient and affordable to many more people.” Ingka is to open stores in 30 major city centers to diversify its reach, which it said will eventually create 11,500 jobs over the coming two years. However, it said 7,500 people will be made redundant during the transformation.

Ingka currently operates 367 Ikea stores in 30 countries and employs 160,000 of Ikea’s total workforce of 208,000. “We recognize that the retail landscape is transforming at a scale and pace we’ve never seen before,” said Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group, the largest individual retailer within the Ikea franchise system. Ikea was founded by Ingvar Kamprad, who turned a small-scale mail order business started on his family’s farm into a furniture empire by letting customers piece together his simple and inexpensive furniture themselves, in 1943.

Kamprad who died in January at 91, formed the company’s name from his own initials and the first letters of the southern Sweden family farm, Elmtaryd, and the parish where it’s located, Agunnaryd. The Ikea Group is headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands.