Ikea has bought odd-jobs firm TaskRabbit, which sends workers to people’s homes to carry out chores such as assembling flat-pack furniture.
The acquisition follows a trial of TaskRabbit in Ikea’s London stores last November.
Ikea president and chief executive Jesper Brodin said the aim of the deal was to “make our customers’ lives a little bit easier”.
He said: “We need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way. An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation.”
“We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise, while also providing Ikea customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions.”
TaskRabbit, based in San Francisco and set up in 2008, operates in 40 cities in the US and the UK. Through its app, it connects customers to tradespeople who can assemble furniture, decorate, clean and make deliveries.
TaskRabbit will continue to operate as an independent company within the Ikea Group. The value of the deal was undisclosed.
Retailers move into services
Ikea is the latest retailer to move into services.
John Lewis launched its Home Solutions service this month, which allows customers in Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Taunton to hire plumbers, electricians, decorators and other types of tradespeople, all of whom the department store has vetted.
The acquisition takes Ikea into the gig economy. TaskRabbit workers are classed as independent contractors who work when they want and where they want, but are not necessarily entitled to holiday pay, for instance.
Other gig economy employers, which include Uber and Deliveroo, have faced court action after some employees have claimed they are not independent contractors and should receive holiday pay.