Shoppers eager to nab discounted furniture at cut-rate prices may soon be able to bypass Craigslist and head straight to the mother ship of cheap home furnishings: IKEA.
On Aug. 28, the Swedish furniture giant began selling second-hand IKEA products online in Sweden, paving the way for similar exchanges in its foreign outlets.
“Time will tell,” Peter Agnefäll, CEO of IKEA Sweden told the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter. “We have to start somewhere. We in Sweden are first and it is unbelievably fun.”
Known for its affordable coffee tables and in-store meatballs, IKEA claims the used furniture sales fit with the company’s environmentally-friendly ethos. “It is about taking an environmental responsibility for how our products are used in the longer term and making it easier for our customers to do their part for their responsibility towards the environment,” Agnefäll says.
Cynics see the launch as IKEA’s attempt to take control of the second-hand market. It’s also a continuation of last year’s naming conflict with retailer Iloveikea.se, a web site devoted to used IKEA goods. Following a court order, that site had to relocate to billyandfriends.se. Fortunately for Swedes, it’s merely a case of different name, same cheap sofas.