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Here are two thoughts inspired by the Swedish furniture retailer Ikea [2].

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 [3], 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.