Ikea to test renting out furniture

Ikea_Ashton-under-Lyne_2008Ikea will trial leasing furniture to customers as part of an effort to prolong the life of its products.

The first trial of renting out furniture will begin in Switzerland as early as this month.

Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter Ikea, which owns the Ikea brand, told the Financial Times:

“We will work together with partners so you can actually lease your furniture. When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and might lease something else.

“And instead of throwing those away, we refurbish them a little and we could sell them, prolonging the lifecycle of the product”.

The Swedish retailer is expected to begin by leasing office furniture such as desks and chairs to business customers. Mr Loof said that leases on kitchens are also a possibility.

“It’s interesting if you as a customer say ‘I can change and adapt and modernise my kitchen if that’s a subscription model,” Mr Loof told the FT.

The new leasing strategy represents a shift from the furniture retailer’s traditional business model. The company is now pushing to develop a circular business model that ties in with its environmentally-friendly policy to make and sell products that can be repaired, reused, recycled or resold.

An Ikea spokesperson told the BBC that the company is trying to encourage customers to “buy, care for and pass on products”.

“In certain markets, such as Switzerland, we’re exploring and testing potential solutions and have a pilot project to look into the leasing of furniture, but it’s still too early to confirm exactly what this will look like,” the spokesperson added.

The company wants to source 100% of its wood, paper and cardboard from sustainable sources by August, 2020. It also aims to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes in its operations. Ikea says it wants to “take the lead” in developing and promoting products and solutions that inspire and enable people to live a more sustainable life at home.