How Swede it is. The world’s top furniture retailer, IKEA sells Scandinavian-style home furnishings and other housewares at more than 350 stores in 40-plus countries. To cut transportation costs, IKEA uses flat packaging; customers assemble the products at home. The company designs its own furniture, which is made by more than 1,000 suppliers in 50-plus countries. IKEA’s stores feature playrooms for children and Swedish cuisine restaurants. It mails about 210 million catalogs a year and sells goods online. An acronym for founder Ingvar Kamprad and his boyhood home, Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd, IKEA began operating in Sweden in 1943. It is owned by Kamprad’s Netherlands-based charitable foundation, Stichting Ingka.