IKEA (Swedish), formerly known as Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, is a Swedish multinational group of companies that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture (such as beds, chairs and desks), appliances and home accessories. It has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since at least 2008. Founded in Sweden in 1943 by then-17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who is now one of the ten richest people in the world and the owner of a more than 40 billion dollar fortune, the company’s name is an acronym that consists of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden).The company is known for its modern architectural designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity. In addition, the firm is known for its attention to cost control, operational details, and continuous product development, corporate attributes that allowed IKEA to lower its prices by an average of two to three percent over the decade to 2010 during a period of global expansion. The IKEA group has a complex corporate structure, which the European Union has alleged was designed to avoid over 1 billion Euros in tax payments over the 2009-2014 period. It is controlled by several foundations based in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
As of December 2016, IKEA owns and operates 392 stores in 48 countries. In fiscal year 2016, €36.4 billion worth of goods were sold, a total that represented a 7.6 percent increase over 2015. The IKEA website contains about 12,000 products and is the closest representation of the entire IKEA range. There were over 2.1 billion visitors to IKEA’s websites in the year from September 2015 to August 2016. The company is responsible for approximately 1% of world commercial-product wood consumption, making it one of the largest users of wood in the retail sector