Ikea Founder Ingvar Kamprad Dies at 91
Billionaire Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, who turned a business he launched as a teenager into one of the world’s best-known furniture brands, has died at the age of 91, the Swedish company said on Sunday. Born on March 30, 1926, in southern Sweden, Kamprad started off selling matches to neighbors at the age of five and soon diversified his inventory to include seeds, Christmas tree decorations, pencils and ball-point pens. Kamprad started Ikea in 1943 when he was just 17, but his big break came in 1956, when the company pioneered flat-pack furniture. He got the idea when he watched an employee taking the legs off a table to fit it into a customer’s car and realized that it could be developed to save money on transport, storage and sales space. “One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has peacefully passed away, at his home in Smaland, Sweden, on the 27th of January,” the company said.
Total Retail's Take: Ikea's simple but sturdy designs and self-assembly products are now familiar in homes around the globe thanks to Kamprad's vision. The retailer is aiming to generate $62 billion in annual revenues by 2020, and has grown to nearly 400 stores. Roughly 1 billion people visited an Ikea last year. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven praised Kamprad as an inspirational figure whose influence had reached far beyond his native land. “Ingvar Kamprad was a unique entrepreneur who had a big impact on Swedish business and who made home design a possibility for the many, not just the few,” national news agency TT quoted Lofven as saying.