Ikea's New Game Plan

The Swedish furnisher has sagged in export markets. But it's plumping up to expand

He wears work shirts and totes his business papers in a plastic bag. He bounces around Europe checking on stores, quizzing startled sales clerks on product details, and passing out memos written on paper napkins. Although he's 71, the founder of Ikea, Sweden's $5.8 billion home-furnishings giant, has no intention of slowing down. Ingvar Kamprad, who still controls the company, wants to bring his retailing innovations and affordable furniture to customers as long as he can. "People have very thin wallets. We should take care of their interests," he says.

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