IKEA Furniture Magnate Ingvar Kamprad Dies at 91

The life and times of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad

Swedish business magnet Ingvar Kamprad, who introduced the world to flat-pack furniture through his very popular brand Ikea, died on Saturday, January 27.

Kamprad, who only stepped down from the company board in 2013, "passed away peacefully" at home in Smaland, the company said.

Kamprad was born there in 1926.

"Before Ikea came along, furniture shopping was a laborious task that a lot of people dreaded because they felt like they were making a decision they had to live with for 30 years", said Warren Shoulberg, a consultant to the home furnishings industry.

Ikea now sports 412 stores across 49 countries, branches that sprawl more than 400,000 square feet and feature model rooms stocked with Malm bed frames, Poang chairs, Billy bookcases and Ektorp sofas.

Ingvar Kamprad har i stillhet somnat in i sitt hem i Småland.

One of the richest people in the world, Kamprad ranked No8 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which estimated his worth at $58.7 billion.

The European Commission announced previous year that it had launched an investigation into the ways Ikea allegedly used a Dutch subsidiary to slash its tax bill on revenue from megastores around the world.

The business now has around 400 stores, many of them cavernous warehouses in out-of-town malls and roughly 1 billion people visited them a year ago. Several years later, he debuted the concept that would be the launchpad for Ikea's global expansion and success: flat-pack (or ready-to-assemble) furniture, an idea analyst Neil Saunders called "revolutionary".

He was known for his devotion to frugality.

A spokesman for Dutch-based Inter Ikea, one of the company's two divisions, said that the company had been taxed "in accordance with European Union rules". "It's in the nature of Småland to be thrifty", he had said in a 2016 documentary. He chose the name IKEA as a composite of his own first and last initials, as well as the first letters of the family farm, Elmtaryd, and the nearby village Agunnaryd. He also shopped at flea markets and often rode the bus.

In a book in 1998, he admitted that he was a close friend of the Swedish fascist activist Per Engdahl, and a member of his New Swedish Movement between 1942 and 1945. Kamprad's character is crucified on a Maypole, according to the New Yorker, but much like his real-life counterpart he remained unfazed.

He was married twice, and his second wife died in 2011. While Sweden was neutral during the war, its Nazi party remained active after the war.

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