If living more sustainably was on your list of resolutions for 2019, look no further than Ikea. In an effort to amp up its environmental efforts, the Swedish retailer will begin leasing out furniture to customers—and granting every renter’s wish in the process.
According to the Financial Times, the first rental trial will begin in Switzerland as early as this month. While the program will begin its tests by renting out office furniture to business customers, the program could quickly grow to encompass full kitchen installations.
“We will work together with partners so you can actually lease your furniture. When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and you might lease something else,” Torbjorn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea told the Financial Times.
The news comes a year after we first learned Ikea had been quietly testing a buy-back program in the UK and Finland where customers can return furniture in exchange for a gift card. The store then donates the discarded items to local charity partners or repackages them for resale. The prospect of a rental program seamlessly complements the retailer’s growing initiative to design and sell goods that can be reused and recycled.
“You could say leasing is another way of financing a kitchen. When this circular model is up and running, we have a much bigger interest in not just selling a product but seeing what happens with it and that the consumer takes care of it,” Lööf added.
For now, it looks like Ikea will stick to testing out the pilot project in certain markets in Europe before scaling the subscription furniture service abroad. Still, the prospect offers hope to renters who are frequently on the move and don’t want to transport a bulky sectional or large dining table from one apartment to the next.
If waiting means we don’t have to commit to a $2,000 sofa or splurge on a brand-new bed frame in the future, we’ll patiently stand by and save our money.
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