Here’s The Mail on Sunday:
A weakening financial performance, missed store targets, planning headaches and enticing overtures from homegrown retail chains have all bruised Ikea.
And according to deeper analysis of its figures, the retailer cannot rest the blame solely on a weak economy…The retailer’s profitability has fallen away every year since 2004 in the UK, and with the exception of a bumper sales year in 2007 at the peak of the spending boom the amount we have handed over in each store has followed a similar trajectory.
The newspaper points to new ranges and cut-priced homeware initiatives from other retailers such as T.K. Maxx and Argos. It also suggests that with interest rates and mortgage repayments as low as they are, people are “banding up” when it comes to replacing cheap household products and furniture bought during the boom.
Fair enough. What I find most interesting of all, however, are the comments left by the readers. They have their own, very strong opinions about why they won’t be returning to IKEA.
Here’s a taster:
They treat customers like dirt. And since they started charging you to use your credit card (don’t forget, Ikea is owned by Europe’s richest man) I have stopped going there. I hate GREED and when I see this kind of petty GREED it turns me away.
I actually had to begin legal proceedings at the small claims court before I got my delivery sorted out. Ikea customer services is just about the worst I’ve ever come across. But the real reason I don’t shop their anymore is that their stuff isn’t very good. 10 years ago, they had all these clever designs, but they’ve lots their innovative edge. Ikea sells cheap junk – cuttlery goes rusty, especially the kitchen knives, the shelves in the book cases bow after a few months, and the PAX wardrobe fittings fall apart and don’t fit very well in the first place.
Perhaps the shoddy furniture, appalling service and after sales care (ever tried taking something BACK to IKEA?) and being forced to pay a surcharge for using a credit card might also have something to do with it.
You have only got to purchase a large item from them to know that their service is so poor, they do not deliver when they say, you phone customer services who don’t care, you go into the store to speak to their manager who actually tells you he doesn’t care, he’s not at the store to speak to customers!!
This article completely misses the point. Which is that a vist to IKEA is quite possibly the worst shopping experience on the planet. Poor service, poor parking, poor products, poor returns service, poor hot dogs, poor everything. That’s the underlying cause of IKEA’s decline………
As you can see, there are two prominent complaints: poor product quality and abysmal customer experience.
I am so pleased to discover that I am not the only person for whom IKEA is complete and utter shopping hell on earth. The hordes, the sheep-like herding around the store’s maze-like layout, the clipping of one’s ankles by industrial-sized trolleys, the unhelpful staff with sad, defeated eyes, the grubby displays and the prevalence of plastic-coated “particleboard” make me feel like this:
Apologies for the graphic nature of the image, but that is how IKEA makes me feel. Here’s the crazy thing though: why have I kept on going back? I should have learned the first time: 11 years ago when, as a student in London, I decided to avail myself of one of them there hotshot Billy bookcases. I trundled up to the Neasden IKEA on the tube, walked a fair way to get to the store – and once through those hallowed blue and yellow doors, promptly had my path blocked and ears boxed by a member of IKEA staff because I was walking in the opposite direction to the arrows. (I know. I am such a rebel.) Once I had found the bookcase I discovered that they didn’t deliver – or rather, they could get it delivered but for a small fortune, which somewhat defeated the object. I couldn’t carry it back to the tube station so I had to get a taxi – also defeating the object – and then had to manoeuvre the damned thing back on the Jubilee and Northern Lines.
And did I learn? In a word, no. That first Billy bookcase has long since been consigned to the household recycling centre – after I painted it with a pot of IKEA’s antique-style woodstain, which turned it ditchwater green and sort of… sticky. In the next room is a Hemnes chest of drawers that fell apart and is now held together with tacks; a desk chair collapsed a long time ago.
I knew I’d had enough earlier this year, when I ordered some shelves for my office and had to have them delivered, because they wouldn’t fit in my car. They took three weeks to arrive, despite the store being an hour’s drive from my work.
I’m not surprised that IKEA’s profits are falling. Yes, the prices are low – but do the purchases really provide value for money? In a way, IKEA is the Ryanair of home furnishings emporiums: the prices look great on paper, but once you’ve factored in all the add-ons – the petrol, the time spent trying to find your way out of the place, all those natty kitchen bits and pieces that add up to a small fortune by the time you get to the checkout counter, the credit card fee, the pulled muscles from hauling heavy flatpacks off the shelves in the warehouse area, the (literally, in my case) obstructive staff and the products with short life spans – are you really getting that great a deal?