Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has died at the age of 91

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has died at the age of 91

Flags are flying at half mast at IKEA in Sweden, following the death of the founder of the retail giant.

Kamprad was once estimated to be the world's fourth-richest person, with a net worth of up to $28 billion according to Forbes magazine. Shoppers drop off their children at Ikea day-care centers, dine at Ikea restaurants and select from among thousands of products ranging from leather sofas to soup ladles.

While Ikea is now widely beloved in Sweden, the company initially riled competitors who were frustrated by its low prices and organized a boycott.

Known for his humble style and nearly religious devotion to simplicity and efficiency, Kamprad founded IKEA at the tender age of 17 and first sold matchboxes, fish, Christmas tree decorations, and pens.

The brand also explains this on its website: "When Ingvar Kamprad is 17 (in 1943), his father gives him money as a reward for succeeding in his studies".

Ikea's revolutionary self-assembly model was conceived in 1956 after an employee suggested table legs be removed so the package would fit into a vehicle. Lundgren realised that if he cut the legs off, the table would fit.

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Although he was no longer involved in IKEA's daily operations, his principles remained deeply ingrained in the company, which sometimes operated more like a secretive cult than a business, according to Stenebo's book. Buying in bulk in Stockholm and selling at a premium in smaller quantities, he got his introduction to a business practice he would cherish at Ikea. From matches, he expanded to selling flower seeds, greeting cards, Christmas tree decorations, and later pencils and ball-point pens.

How did Kamprad start out?

IKEA began to ramp up its sustainability efforts, partnering with Swedish Studio Form Us With Love.

Mr Kamprad admitted to having sympathies with Swedish fascist leader Per Engdahl in the 1940s and 1950s, which he described as "a part of my life which I bitterly regret". He said he stopped attending its meetings in 1948.

Two years later Kamprad opened Ikea's first store in Almhult, south of his hometown. Last time it was in Vietnam, ' Kamprad explained.

Kamprad did not have an operational role at Ikea since 1988, but continued to contribute as senior advisor, "sharing his knowledge and energy with ... co-workers", the company said.

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