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Ikea expands Buy Back & Resell program as it eyes 2030 circularity goal

Global furniture and homewares retailer Ikea has expanded its Buy Back & Resell concept into the US with a three-week trial in the Pennsylvania city of Conshohocken in suburban Philadelphia.

Ikea piloted the concept in the UK in 2019 before launching two permanent stores in its home market Sweden last year. In Australia, a 10-day campaign last year saw more than 18,000 products returned to stores, but the initiative has not been introduced as a permanent feature yet. 

After the Ikea Conshohocken Ikea US said in a statement that it plans to roll the service out to additional select markets across the country, with the ultimate goal of making Buy Back & Resell a permanent service at all Ikea US stores in the future, without specifying a timeframe. The pilot began this week and ends on September 19.

However the company earlier said the return and reuse strategy would help it meet its goal of becoming a circular business by 2030. 

Perhaps addressing one of the challenges of maintaining a service where it commits to buying back furniture, the company said it was offering “Ikea Family members the opportunity to sell back their gently used” furniture in exchange for store credit. It only covers fully assembled and functional Ikea furniture which the retailer hopes will provide a sustainable and affordable option for customers, especially those on tight budgets. The condition, age and functionality of products returned will be reviewed and any recalled products – along with particular categories of products such as chests of drawers – will not be accepted. 

“At Ikea, we are passionate about making sustainable living easy and affordable for the many, and want to be part of a future that’s better for both people and the planet,” says Jennifer Keesson, country sustainability manager at Ikea US. “We hope the Buy Back & Resell service inspires our customers to live a more sustainable life at home while giving their used furniture another life and a second home.”

The company did not say what it would do with furniture returned that it believed could not be resold – consumers may have the perception that the company would recycle it on their behalf. 

Through its franchise partner Ingka Group, Ikea has 52 stores in the US. 

In an interview with Inside Retail in June, Ikea Australia sustainability manager Mellisa Hamilton said the success of last year’s trial proved “overwhelming demand” for the service. 

“Moving forward, we’re looking at ways to refine the service to be able to meet [demand] and continue to increase consumer awareness to promote and enable circularity both within our business and our customer’s life at home.”

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