The Strategist

Ikea starts producing medical masks, says demand for furniture still high

04/01/2020 - 06:04

Swedish IKEA started producing masks and aprons needed by hospitals in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for the company's office furniture remains stable thanks to customers forced to switch to work from home.

Calvin Teo
Calvin Teo
The Swedish company IKEA, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, began to produce the necessary protective equipment for hospitals, such masks and aprons, according to Reuters. The world's largest furniture manufacturer emphasized that it plans to gradually increase the supply.

Demand for IKEA office furniture remains stable as many people are starting to work from home, Henrik Elm, supply manager for Inter IKEA Group, told the agency. At the same time, he noted that supply chain disrupts became more serious when the coronavirus reached Europe and America, and closed or poorly functioning borders became a key problem for the company. However, IKEA was ready for this and was able to relatively successfully mitigate the impact of these factors, the top manager noted. He stressed that he did not expect a shortage of wood or other raw materials.

In mid-March, Stockholm IKEA employees discovered 500,000 masks in a warehouse that the company purchased during the bird flu epidemic. The masks were sent to the largest hospital in Sweden. Many other companies are trying to help in the fight against the disease, too. So, the manufacturer of vacuum cleaners Dyson decided to produce ventilators, and the LVMH holding started manufacturing hand antiseptics in factories that used to make perfumes and cosmetics in mid-March.