Wednesday, September 03, 2008

IKEA in Israel - 30% higher prices?

The Marker, one of Israel's leading economic magazines reports today what many of us have long suspected: IKEA's prices in Israel are significantly more expensive than other IKEA branches around the globe -- a hand towel (choose your own appropriate catalog word; frap, kwoodle, blargo...) in IKEA Sweden costs 1 NIS and in IKEA Israel costs 15 NIS.

On average, the prices in IKEA Israel are 30% higher than IKEA Britain and Holland, and 24% higher than France and Sweden. The Marker price checked 21 items that in Israel totaled
17,000 NIS, yet the exact same items in France or Sweden would have cost 13,000 NIS. In England and Holland the total price tag was even lower; only 12,000 NIS.

Shlomo Gabbai, CEO of IKEA Israel provided 2 main reasons for the higher cost;

1. The high shipping and Logistics costs of getting their merchandise from Sweden to Israel.

2. The strong Shekel vs. the weaker foreign currencies.

I personally only discovered IKEA after I made aliya, since it was only starting to gain popularity in the US when I made aliya. We were very excited about it at first, and purchased many items for our "lift", but we were soon underwhelmed by the quality of the items -- some are definitely sturdier than others.

On the bright side, the food court is Kosher, they are closed on shabbat, and IKEA Israel even has its own shul!
Follow me, the rabbi whispers to me mysteriously, and leads me to a hidden door, between the recliner department and the sofa display. We go down one floor, he opens a door, and I am totally stunned. Not a corner, not a small prayer room, but a synagogue. An honest-to-goodness synagogue. The Great Synagogue of IKEA.

Little by little, more good Jews gather in the secret bunker. Some work in the store, others are customers - the rabbi has assured their wives that he will personally see to it that they return within 15 minutes to the same mirrored shelf unit in the same model bathroom. I go to check out the bookshelves and am bowled over. Everything is so neat and spiffy. Every synagogue should be so orderly. Printed on each book is "Property of IKEA." There's an IKEA-siddur, and IKEA-chumash, a new set of IKEA-Rambam and even a Torah ark with a velvet curtain on which the following is embroidered: "For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem. Donated by Yehiel Moshe (Edgar) and Matityahu Bronfman." HaAretz
From what I can see around the web, many people are disappointed with IKEA's customer service department, but for those of us living in Israel, it should be par for the course! (It can't possibly be worse than dealing with Highway-6 customer service or the Ministry of the Interior)

The adjoining comic was too good not to include, even if it may not be fully justified.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Leora said...

I am not a big IKEA fan. The furniture we bought there (in the NJ store) when we were first married either slowly or quickly fell apart. Except for one wooden coffee table, which seems to take plenty of abuse from children and survive. That cartoon is perfect!

If they make those swedish meatballs, though, it might be worth the trip. It doesn't cost them to import a recipe. Wonder if your kosher IKEA food will taste as good as it smells in Elizabeth, NJ.

ADDeRabbi said...

This Shlomo Gabbai fellow is a CEO???

One need not be an economist to realize that when your currency is going UP, imported goods become CHEAPER!!! A $5 that used to cost 23 NIS now costs 17 NIS! Does he take us for fools?

You can't even blame the VAT because it's just as high in some of those Euro countries.

JoeSettler said...

I discussed IKEA here a while ago.

the apple said...

I LOVE the comic!

Baila said...

I'm with Adderabbi. And even if the CEO knew what a stronger currency means, the prices were the same before the dollar dropped. They will never get better no matter what our currency is worth.

Anonymous said...

I love Ikea, but the price thing comes as no surprise. Regarding the quality you have to be careful, basically you get what you pay for, their more expensive stuff is pretty sturdy and the cheap stuff will last as long as cheap stuff normally does. The most annoying thing though, is that you can’t order things that are out of stock and you can’t check to see if something is in stock before shlepping over there.


Yellow Boy

tnspr569 said...

They do have cool ice cube trays...

As a rule of thumb, anything from Ikea that requires assembly can't be expected to hold up well over the long term. Their lighting fixtures and kitchen cabinets are supposed to be good values (the kitchen cabinets are of the same quality as much more expensive brands- Ikea saves money through bulk manufacturing, I believe. Money magazine had an Ikea field guide a few issues ago, full of useful information.

saus said...

It's a total rip in Israel compared the North America, I was astounded at the pricing the two times I was shopping in netanya for serious hauls, the catalog seems infinitely smaller too. Oh well.

As for quality, it's drek of course.. The concept being drekish stuff should also come cheap which sort of defeats the purpose buying Ikea in Israel. What astounded me the most was my fellow Israelis raving about Ikea like it is a status symbol, 'ahhhhhh ze me Ikea? YAFEH!'

I dont't have the heart to say back it's nicely cut plywood really - I saved a lot of shekels in the end buying a full living room on Herzl street in Tel Aviv 5 minutes from my place, no assembly required provided you want to squeeze the life out of the guy selling as is customary in Israel :)

I did pick up a glass kitchen table there last year though, complete with infamous wobbly ikea chairs :)))

aoc gold said...

What does the bee do?

Bring home honey.

And what does Father do?

Bring home money.

And what does Mother do?

Lay out the money.

And what does baby do?

Eat up the honey.

--------- by Age Of Conan gold

the sabra said...

So waitta sec, SWEDEN wins ISRAEL?!?


Upon awakening (awaking?), sabra comments on the appreciated humor of the comic.

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