Business English – Exam 3 – IKEA

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Business English – Exam 3 – IKEA


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Since it opened its first store in 1943, IKEA has become one of the biggest furniture empires in the world.  The company has made people think differently about the way they furnish their homes, particularly in countries like Germany, the UK, and France.


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Over 365 million people worldwide spend more than $10 million in IKEA stores each year and the number of customers keeps rising.  The best-selling products are bookshelves, sofas, candles, chairs, and coat hangers.  However, IKEA is perhaps most famous for its flatpack furniture.


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Flatpack furniture was invented by chance in 1956 by a man named Gillis Lundgren.  He lived in a Swedish town called Almult and worked for a small furniture company.


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One day, Lundgren needed to deliver a table to a customer, but the table wouldn’t fit in his car.  Lundgren then said, “Let’s pull the legs off and put them underneath,” and that’s how flatpack furniture was born.


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From that simple beginning, the small furniture company became IKEA, and Lundgren immediately became one of its top designers.


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The secret to IKEA’s success is not just the design but also its price.  Flatpacks don’t require much space, so IKEA can send furniture around the world at a cheap price.


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The stores also don’t employ very many people to help you find their customers find or carry things.  IKEA also doesn’t have anyone to help put together the furniture, but IKEA’s customers don’t seem to mind doing these things themselves.

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However, not everyone seems to be able to assemble his own furniture.  Actor Russell Crowe got so frustrated with assembling his IKEA furniture that he attacked the flatpack with a knife.  And he finally had to ask someone to help him.


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There are now over 200 IKEA stores in more than 30 countries, and every time a new store opens it’s front page news.  In 2005, when London’s fourth IKEA opened for business at midnight, there were 6,000 people waiting outside!


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When people began shopping, the store became so crowded that the manager told the staff to close the doors.  Even though the store was only open for 40 minutes, IKEA sold all 500 sofas that were on special.

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