Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad dies in Sweden at 91

The life and times of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad

The life and times of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad

Swede Ingvar Kamprad, the billionaire founder of the IKEA retail empire whose cheap, functional furniture is a feature of homes around the world, has died at the age of 91. The company name was an acronym of his initials, the name of his farm, Elmtaryd, and his town of origin, Agunnaryd. The Ikea group now has 403 stores across every continent, employs 1,90,000 people worldwide and generates annual sales of 38 billion euros ($47 billion).

Rest in peace, Ingvar Kamprad.

Using the same principle, the iconic Billy bookcase comes in a flat pack along with an assembly guide and the necessary tools.

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish multinational furniture retailer IKEA, stands outside the company's head office in Almhult, Sweden, on August 6, 2002. He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done.

Since then the IKEA concept-keeping prices low by letting customers put together the furniture themselves-offers affordable home furnishings at stores across the globe.

And it mentions a 2016 interview with Swedish television channel TV4 where Kamprad "said that it was 'in the nature of Småland to be thrifty".

Kamprad's life was not without controversy, however.

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Mr Kamprad was renowned for his devotion to frugality, reportedly driving an old Volvo and travelling by economy class.

"If you look at me now, I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market", he said.

The company's trademark item is traditional Swedish meatballs, but it also serves 100 million cups of coffee each year.

Ikea has remained privately-owned under a Dutch trust operated by the Kamprad family.

The European Commission announced a year ago that it had launched an investigation into the ways Ikea allegedly used a Dutch subsidiary to slash its tax bill on revenue from megastores around the world. The Consortium of Investigative Journalists identified IKEA in 2014 as one of the giant multinationals that moved money to tax havens to avoid taxes.

In a book in 1998, he admitted that he was a close friend of the Swedish fascist activist Per Engdahl, and a member of his New Swedish Movement between 1942 and 1945.

Kamprad later said that it was "a part of my life which I bitterly regret" but his "Nazi past followed [him] ... to his death", Derek Hawkins reports for the Washington Post, detailing both the charges against him as well as his - and others' - defense of what he claimed was an indiscretion of his youth.

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