May 20, 2018

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at 91

30 January 2018, 01:00 | Rufus Hill

Ikea founder dies: World's biggest furniture chain founder Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

STOCKHOLM-IKEA founder 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 low-priced furniture themselves, has died at age 91.

The Ikea founder passed away at his home in the southern Swedish region of Smaland, according to the Agence France-Presse and Ikea, in a statement, said: "Kamprad passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones following a brief illness".

Known for his humble style and nearly religious devotion to simplicity and efficiency, Kamprad founded IKEA at the tender age of 17 and first sold matchboxes, fish, Christmas tree decorations, and pens.

Mr Kamprad - who pioneered flat-pack furniture - died at his home in Småland, Ikea confirmed in a statement.

Since then it has grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

Kamprad stepped down from the Ikea board in 2013 at the age of 87, following years of building the iconic brand and being heralded with the invention of the flat pack.

A customer signs a book of condolences at the entrance of an IKEA store in Stockholm. He later described the period as the "folly of youth" and "the greatest mistake of my life".

Sweden was neutral in World War II, and its Nazi party remained active after 1945.

The name Ikea is derived from Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland).

Ingvar Kamprad was at a trade fair in Italy in the 1940s when he had an idea.

In 1947, the young Kamprad started selling furniture made by local artisans, and four years later he began putting out the first of his mail order catalogues - which now have an annual print run of 200 million copies in 33 languages.

Ikea's revolutionary self-assembly model was conceived in 1956 after an employee suggested table legs be removed so the package would fit into a auto. In 1953, the first IKEA showroom opened its doors to the public in Almhult; this was converted into a store in 1958.

In 2017, Ikea's global revenue stood at €36.3 billion ($45 billion).

Kamprad was known to lead a frugal life and drive a simple Volvo vehicle well into his later years.

In a 2016 interview with Swedish television channel TV4, he said that it was "in the nature of Smaland to be thrifty". "I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market". This was part of moves to hand responsibilities over to one of his sons.

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