In Depth

Ikea: Child deaths prompt free wall fixings offer

Kit to prevent tipping available for 27 million Ikea dressers sold since 2002

Ikea

Ikea has agreed with a US safety regulator to offer a free wall fixing kit to customers who have purchased 27 million of its dressers since 2002. The offer comes after a number of injuries and two child deaths were linked to products tipping over.

In a statement published online, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says Ikea will offer the free kit to those in the US who bought around seven million of its 'Malm' multi-drawer dressers and 20 million other similar products.  

It follows reports to the company in February and June 2014 that two children aged 2 years and 23 months respectively had died in separate incidents in Pennsylvania and Washington, after dressers that were not fixed to the wall tipped over onto them. A total of 14 incidents have been reported in relation to the products resulting in four injuries. Ikea also said it was aware of reports of three additional deaths since 1989 related to 'tip-overs' of other models of chests and dressers.

Consumers have been urged to visit an Ikea retail store to get the free kit. The company has also published an online guide that gives instructions on preventing furniture from tipping over and other general safety tips for children. According to the CPSC, a child dies in America every two weeks because of furniture-related accidents.

Patty Lobell, IKEA's US commercial manager, said in a statement quoted by the Mirror that the company was "committed to helping raise the awareness of this serious home safety issue and to continue to provide consumers with the tools and knowledge they need to prevent these accidents".Malm products are sold to UK consumers and are listed on the Ikea website. In the product details, the company states that each dresser is sold with wall fixings that it cautions must be used to "prevent it from tipping over if a child climbs or hangs on it".

Ikea breaks ranks with retailers to bring in living wage

20 July

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is to break new ground in the UK retail sector after announcing it will pay the "living wage" to all staff from next year, in a move that will lead to a pay rise for around 4,500 staff.

All of the firm's workers in the UK will receive £9.15 in London and £7.85 in the rest of the country, the rates set by the Greater London Authority and the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. The rates are designed to reflect the minimum pay needed to enjoy a decent standard of living.

The Times says the move will cost the company £7.5m on top of a wage bill £145m last year. Ikea currently pays a minimum hourly rate of £7.13 and it says the move will benefit around half of its 9,000 UK workforce.

The Guardian says says the move could increase pressure on other retailers, especially big supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's which have so far refused to meet the voluntary threshold despite campaigning from the Living Wage Foundation. According to its website, close to 1,600 employers are on board, including around a quarter of the FTSE 100 and big names such as British Gas, Google, and Chelsea Football Club.

Ikea's move comes in the wake of the Budget announcement that a so-called 'national living wage' will be introduced from next April for over 25s, which will rise to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020, when it is expected to be significantly in excess of £9 an hour.

The Mirror points out that the rate offered by the firm will be above the initial £7.20 minimum rate set by the government next year and that it will remain ahead of the eventual rate for Londoners, who will not receive any boost under government plans to compensate for higher cost of living in the capital.

Ikea: coming soon to a high street near you?

If you've ever survived a day trawling the aisles of a giant out-of-town Ikea, this may come as appealing news: the Swedish giant has announced plans to trial smaller stores from this autumn.

The company, which currently operates 18 stores across the UK, will open a compact "order and collect" store at a retail park on the outskirts of Norwich later this year, the Daily Telegraph reports, with plans for a further two shops within the next year – perhaps including one in a high-street location.

The Guardian says the outlets will allow customers to select from a smaller in-store product range, speak to home furnishing experts, make and collect orders through the company's website, and will include a cafe. Retail Week says the store will also act as a 'studio' for complex purchases such as kitchens.

Ikea has been trialling the smaller store format in Finland, Norway and Spain, and had indicated it would develop its presence in a report published in November last year. Country head Gillian Drakeford said the firm would invest to ensure it was "more accessible to many more people", adding that it would "simplify and improve the shopping experience and offer convenience and value for time".

The results had revealed annual sales in the UK were £1.4bn for the 12 months to August 2014, up 11 per cent year on year

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