Ingvar Kamprad, who founded furniture retailer IKEA, died on January 27 in his home in Småland, Sweden, following a brief illness.The global furniture giant said in a press release that he “peacefully passed away,” and described him as “a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind – hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye.”
He founded IKEA at the age of 17, and grew it into a leading furniture retailer with 412 stores in 49 markets across the globe. He pioneered the flat-pack furniture concept after seeing an employee dismantle a table to help a customer fit it into their car
The company’s name is derived from its founder’s initials (IK), the name of his farm, Elmtaryd (E) and the village where he grew up, Agunnaryd (A). IKEA’s posted $20 billion in gross profit in 2016, and 11.9% increase from the previous year.Kamprad was on Forbes’ list of billionaires until 2016, when he transferred his assets to his sons Peter, Mathias and Jonas (all billionaires).Timeline:
How Ingvar Kamprad Founded IKEA
Ingvar Kamprad is born.
At the age of 17, Kamprad starts IKEA. It sells pens, wallets, picture frames, watches, jewellery and nylon stockings.
IKEA starts selling furniture.
IKEA decides to design its own furniture and explores flat packaging.
The first IKEA store opens in Sweden.
IKEA launches its restaurant, now known for its Swedish meatballs, in its Sweden store.
Kamprad writes “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” with rules for employees that detailed simplicity as virtue and waste as sin.
IKEA opens its first Middle Eastern branch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
IKEA opens branch in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
Kamprad steps down from group management at IKEA but remains a senior advisor to its parent company INGKA Holding.
IKEA now has 11 branches in seven Middle Eastern countries with plans for expansion to Bahrain in 2018.
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