Ikea to trial furniture rental scheme

Ikea homes
// Ikea set to launch furniture rental service
// Trial to be held in Switzerland first
// Part of Ikea’s ambitions to develop circular business model

Ikea is set to introduce a new customer service initiative in the form of leasing furniture as part of wider ambitions to develop a circular business model.

According to the Financial Times, the first leasing trial is set to begin in Ikea’s Swiss market as early as next month and will will involve several types of furniture.

Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Ikea’s parent company Inter Ikea, told the Financial Times that furniture items returned after the leasing period ends could then be refurbished and sold.

He added that leasing kitchens could be another possibility.

Ikea was also reportedly looking at the possibility of a new spare parts business so customers can buy replacement components for furniture no longer stocked in its stores.

The new initiatives are part of Ikea’s ambitions to develop a circular business model which not only sold products but also re-use them to make new items, subsequently decreasing the amount of furniture waste heading to landfills.

It comes after the Swedish retail giant in November announced a global transformation plan, which consists of simplifying its operations and stepping up investments in new and existing Ikea stores and fulfilment centres, developing city-centre format stores, and improving ecommerce services.

The transformation will effectively see Ikea become less reliant on its traditional business model, which focuses on selling goods in large suburban or out-of-town warehouses and leaving customers to collect and assemble items.

Ikea also made a promise in December to slash carbon emissions from its production divisions by 80 per cent in absolute terms by 2030.

The retailer said its own suppliers and factories released 3.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2016, and that it would now aim to cut that figure down by 80 per cent by 2030.

Ikea has already established initiatives to encourage customers to recycle wood and mattresses in some countries, while the designs of sofas have been altered so as to ensure its parts can be separated and recycled.

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