IKEA the business. A non-profit?


“I decided that the stock market was not an option for IKEA. I knew that only a long-term perspective could secure our growth plans and I didn’t want IKEA to be become dependent on financial institutions.”

Ingvar Kamprad, Senior Advisor & Founder

I remember in 1985 when IKEA opened its first US store. Wow, its been 30 years. That first store was in Plymouth Meeting, PA. A short distance from my home in Philadelphia. Billboards were posted everywhere announcing the store’s opening. It was an event. For a designer, the idea of affordable readily available Scandinavian furniture and products was a dream come true. Back then, I felt privileged to be living near the first, AND ONLY, US store. IKEA has since outgrown their first US store in Plymouth Meeting, PA. In 2000 the store moved to nearby Conshohocken, PA. But I’m a lucky lady. I work in Conshohocken so I make frequent trips on my commute home.

IKEA has disappointed me with some of their products over the past 30 years, but not many. Early on, lots of products just fell apart. But today, IKEA offers some amazing solutions that are an integral part of our home.

I’d just like to say. Nobody does it better than IKEA. It is truly a remarkable business. And on so many levels. The level I’m going to talk about today is IKEA’s corporate structure. So…

Did you know?


In case you were wondering….

IKEA was started in 1943 by Swedish founder Ingvar Kamprad. It is a private “foundation”. A charitable organization. No stock and no shareholders. But still, it’s amazing to imagine that it’s 31.22 billion dollars in sales In 2014 were achieved without the help of shareholder or investor money.

IKEA’s ownership structure secures it’s long-term future. Because IKEA is a foundation it cannot be sold or split up by heirs.

And it works like this…

The Stichting INGKA Foundation (a private non-profit) based in the Netherlands owns the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group must reinvest funds back into the IKEA Group OR funds must be donated for charitable purposes through the Stichting IKEA Foundation.

The IKEA Group (another private company) franchises the IKEA retail system from Inter IKEA Systems. 

Inter IKEA Systems (yes, private) is the owner of the IKEA trademark, concept and the worldwide IKEA franchisers.

Got that?

The IKEA group of companies


So, is IKEA a non-profit? Clearly it is.

It’s a privately owned charitable foundation dedicated to interior design. By being a charitable foundation IKEA minimizes it’s tax liability. The founder Ivar Kamprad and his family financially benefit from this arrangement. And because IKEA is a private charitable entity it makes it impossible to takeover. IKEA remains intact and immune to tampering from successors.

Rest easy. Or not. IKEA will still be there for  your grandchildren.

Images, content and data sourced from IKEA.com