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Ikea to sell online on third-party sites

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IkeaImage copyright Getty Images

Ikea will start experimenting with selling its famous flatpack furniture through online retailers in what marks the biggest change in the way the Swedish chain does business.

The move comes in response to changes in the way consumers buy big-ticket items such as sofas.

Ikea is also testing new types of stores in city centres smaller than its vast edge-of-town outlets.

The retailer has not said which websites will be part of the test.

The likes of Amazon and Alibaba are thought to be likely contenders, however, given their popularity with consumers.

Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, told the Financial Times: “[This] is the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded.

“We want to learn… we want to find out how we could keep our identity on a third-party platform.” 

Ikea sells many of its products on its own website, but was a late arrival to the online retail market.

Image copyright Getty Images

Last month Ikea said it was buying Task Rabbit, an app that matches consumers with people who can assemble furniture as well as do other chores such as cleaning or painting.

Inter Ikea said on Monday that global turnover rose 5% to €38.3bn (£34.2bn) for the 12 months to August.

The retailer now has 403 stores in 49 markets, with another 22 planned in the coming year.

It also plans to continue rolling out new formats and expand its e-commerce activities, Inter IKEA said.

Ikea stores are owned by 11 franchisees, of which IKEA Group is the biggest with 355 stores.

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