December 19, 2018 / 3:57 PM / in 4 months

IKEA buys stake in U.S. kitchen installation partner

People walk past an IKEA kitchen showroom downtown Stockholm, Sweden April 17, 2018. Picture taken April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Ingka Group, owner of most IKEA stores, said on Wednesday it had bought a 49 percent stake in U.S. kitchen installation partner Traemand as part of a push to improve and broaden its service offering.

A partner for 13 years, Traemand connects IKEA customers with sub-contractors for the planning and installation of IKEA kitchens in the United States and Canada.

“With the investment in Traemand the customer experience will be more simple and seamless,” Ingka Group said in a statement. “The investment in Traemand makes it possible to integrate the planning and the installation service in the purchase.”

It did not give a price for the stake.

Ingka Group, also known as IKEA Group, said the deal included an option to buy the remaining shares in Traemand and that Traemand may expand to more markets.

The acquisition is Ingka Group’s second-ever acquisition outside the group of companies that make up the IKEA brand, after it bought U.S. odd-jobs platform TaskRabbit in 2017.

As the furniture market gets more crowded on the back of the online shift, and shoppers become more used to home delivery and other services, IKEA is seeing the appeal of its out-of-town stores and DIY approach dim.

In a strategy shift is its therefore investing heavily in accessible inner-city showrooms, e-commerce and services ranging from delivery and assembly to planning services and augmented reality apps.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by David Evans

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