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Ikea Company History

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The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, began his business career as a young boy selling matches purchased in bulk individually for a profit to his neighbors near Agunnaryd. As his business grew, he expanded to selling fish seeds, christmas decorations and eventually, pencils and ball-point pens which were a new phenomenon in 1935. He was very clever in utilizing his resources - he delivered his goods by bicycle, and later used the local milk delivery van to make deliveries.

In 1943, with a gift from his father, Ingvar established his business, using his initials, Ingvar Kamprad, the name of the farm on which he was born, Elmtaryd and the village nearby, Agunnaryd for the acronym. At this time, he was selling everything from pens and wallets to watches and nylon stockings by going door to door and selling directly to his customers. By 1945, the first advertisements for IKEA began showing up in local newspaper and he had developed a rudimentary catalog.

The IKEA concept started in the 1950s with catalogue marketing combined with a showroom where customers could see and touch IKEA products.

The first full IKEA store opened in Älmhult in 1958. With 6700 m2 (72,118 ft2), it was the largest furniture display in all of Scandinavia. In 1963, the first IKEA store outside Sweden opened near Oslo in Norway, followed by the flagship store in Stockholm - a whopping 45,800 m2 (492,987 ft2) circular store inspired by the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The success of this store, and difficulties in serving customers due to an overfilled capacity led to the open warehouse concept that is key to the current structure of IKEA stores and the IKEA experience in general. IKEA took the lead in using nontraditional materials for furniture, like plastics, that made IKEA design well-known worldwide. The company also targeted younger families.

In 1973, the first store outside Scandinavia was opened near Zurich, Switzerland, followed by rapid growth in Germany starting with IKEA Munich in 1974. Germany remains IKEA's largest market today. In 1975, IKEA Australia entered the market and IKEA Canada debuted in 1976 bringing the mega furniture store to two new continents in 2 years. IKEA US opened its first store in 1985, and IKEA UK first opened in 1987.

In 2008, IKEA boasts 285 stores in 36 countries, with an additional 26 stores opened in 2009 and is the world's largest



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