Who'd go to a furniture store that expects you to build its furniture yourself?

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Who'd spend a Saturday afternoon searching for products that are often out of stock, wait in long checkout queues, lug home unwieldy flatpacks and spend six hours assembling them with the aid of skeletal instructions? The answer is 310 million people worldwide - the Changing Rooms generation, who like to update their interiors with trendy, low-cost furniture every year or two. Ikea has overtaken Abba and Volvo as Sweden's most famous export, conquering the home furnishings market with modern Scandinavian designs at low prices. And despite the matrimonial strife that a trip to the store can engender, it's said that in the early '90s, one in 10 Europeans was conceived on an Ikea bed. The firm was founded 61 years ago by penny-pinching Ingvar Kamprad, who Swedish magazine Veckans Affarer recently named the world's richest man. Brent Park is said to be the chain's worst UK store and Ikea president Anders Dahlvig has admitted that the 'UK experience is not what we would like it to be', but the lure of picking up a Billy bookcase and a full English breakfast for less than £60 has proved too much to resist for bargain-loving Brits.

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