Here are two thoughts inspired by the Swedish furniture retailer Ikea .
First, although each Ikea store is physically as large or larger than the typical Wal-Mart store, why doesn’t Ikea attract the same intensity of hostility that Wal-Mart attracts? Both companies are big-box retailers; both put extraordinary competitive pressures on existing, especially smaller, retailers; and neither specializes in selling top-of-the-line items. (My wife, Karol, asked this interesting question recently as we drove along an Interstate highway and noticed an Ikea store.)
Second, according to Forbes, Ikea’s owner, Ingvar Kamprad , is the world’s sixth-richest person, with a net worth of $23 billion. Take note: this man’s wealth is built on retailing — not exactly a new and pioneering line of work. And he retails (mostly wooden) furniture — not exactly new, cutting-edge items.