Furniture for all: IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at 91

Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the world's largest furniture retailer, died at his home in Smaland, Sweden, on Saturday.

Ingvar Kamprad, who created Ikea in 1943 when he was 17, is credited as a pioneer of flat-pack furniture and transforming the style of British homes.

His empire has since grown to 412 stores, and he was a part of the company's operations until 1988. The statement said Kamprad was "surrounded by his loved ones" and died "following a short illness".

In 2017, 403 Ikea stores in 49 countries received 936 million visitors, and the chain generated sales of 38.3 billion euros ($47.6 billion).

"My theory was that good furniture could be priced so that the man with the flat wallet would be attracted to it, would make a place for it in his spending and could afford it", Kamprad told Forbes in a 2000 interview.

Kamprad announced in 2013 that he would be stepping down from the board of Inter Ikea, owner of the furniture giant's concept and brand, and his youngest son became chairman. He drove an old Volvo, recycled his tea bags, reportedly pilfered the salt and pepper packets at restaurants and visited markets in the late afternoon to find discounted produce.

Elmtaryd is the name of Kamprad's family farm in Smaland, a small southern Swedish province known for its thrifty attitude and hard-working people, and Agunnaryd is the town where Kamprad grew up.

Mr Kamprad stepped down from day-to-day activities three decades ago after handing over control of the firm to professional managers.




His image was tainted in later life by revelations that, during the second World War, he had joined the successor organisation to the Swedish National Socialist Workers' Party in occupied Sweden.

Kamprad had an estimated net worth of $58.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Always looking to cut costs, Kamprad bought much of IKEA's furniture from then communist Poland in the 1960s.

Before Kamprad's company became a household word, he formed allegiances that came back to haunt him.

Born on March 30, 1926, Kamprad was a precocious entrepreneur who sold matchboxes to neighbours from his bicycle.

According to company lore, young Ingvar was 5 when he started his first business venture, selling matches to his neighbors.

He was proud of the egalitarian spirit that his company promoted, telling Sydsvenskan newspaper in 2008, "I belong to the people on the (shop) floor".

In 1973, he fled Sweden's higher tax structure for Denmark before seeking even lower taxes in Switzerland.

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