One of the biggest complaints we hear about IKEA products is that they often discontinue things. We recently felt some backlash when IKEA discontinued the children’s line of storage products, TROFAST (Edit: IKEA has NOT discontinued the line – only some parts of the line). We saw some desperate cries for help in our Swaps and Exchanges forum and I even got some angry emails from people (who I assume didn’t realize that I’m NOT IKEA):
I will no longer purchase IKEA products which simply leave the customer in the dark about the future of their products.
The simple fact is, IKEA discontinues products frequently. Every manufacturer and retailer does! It’s the nature of the retail beast and it’s one of the ways that IKEA keeps their product range fresh and exciting. If IKEA never discontinued items, we’d never see anything new, either.
Sadly, often the products that are discontinued are very popular products. Take the JERKER desk, for example – entire communities are based on owning a JERKER. Or the FIRA small chest of drawers – people mourned the loss of the FIRA like you would not believe. And each year, a number of cabinet door lines (TIDAHOLM is reportedly slated to be discontinued) are discontinued from the kitchen range. It happens.
Changeovers, Sales Stops and Discontinuations
It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between products that are Out of Stock, those that have been Discontinued, products that have a ‘Sales Stop’ and products that are in ‘Changeover.’
Out of Stock – As it sounds, these are simply products that are not currently in the warehouse for sale. IKEA does not ship anything by air – it’s all container shipped and no container leaves port half-filled – sometimes this means a long wait for stock to arrive in stores for purchase.
As we’ve mentioned innumerable times, don’t trust the IKEA website’s stock levels – they are notoriously inaccurate. If you absolutely need to know, call the store and ask for someone IN the store (not at the call center) to check the stock for you.
Tip: Try to reach the Home Furnishings Consultant if your store has one.
Discontinued – These products are going away, never to return to the catalog. The JERKER desk is an example of this kind of discontinued item. There is often little or no warning that the item is to be discontinued, and in the case of something like the JERKER where there are accessories and such, it can pose a problem for people who didn’t get everything they wanted the first time around.
Fact: IKEA stocks about 10,000 items – each year, some old things must go to make way for the new.
Sales Stops – Sales stops result from manufacturing, distribution and supply problems, primarily. Either there’s a problem with the supplier keeping up with the demand, with distribution getting products to the stores, or an issue with quality or safety has been identified and until it’s rectified, IKEA will not stock any additional product. Sometimes the problematic products continue to be sold until the warehoused supply is depleted (as in the ADEL Medium Brown Sales Stop), and other times, it’s pulled from the warehouses completely.
Tip: If you are told that something has been discontinued, ask a co-worker if there’s a Sales Stop in place or if it’s been completely discontinued.
Changeovers - Sometimes it’s simply a change of manufacturers that causes a sales stop; VIKA ARTUR trestle leg lovers suffered from this situation. During the changeover from one manufacturer to another, customers were told it was, 1. Out of Stock 2. Discontinued 3. on a Sales Stop. In reality, there was some stock remaining in some stores, some in warehouses yet to be shipped to stores, and a new manufacturer was bringing production online.
Fact: Just as frequently a product will have an old finish discontinued and a new introduced.
For example, IKEA recently phased out the HEMNES in blue and introduced another (very different blue, see right) without making it clear to customers or co-workers that this was happening.
Outrage Over Changes in Product Lines
Frequently, the cause of outrage is a simple lack of communication on IKEA’s part which leads to misunderstandings or misinformation. It’s maddening ask about a product and be told that it’s ‘out of stock,’ only to find out later that it’s been discontinued, but it happens more often than you’d think.
In fact, right now there’s some hoopla over the ‘Discontinued NEXUS Brown-Black’ cabinets. According to IKEAFANS member and IKEA Kitchens co-worker Urad, NBB will be reintroduced in August albeit from a different manufacturer. If you’re doing your kitchen in NBB, I’d suggest getting all your doors and drawer fronts now or waiting until new stock is in stores.
We usually have the scoop on what’s up with specific products, so always make sure you check rumors with the IKEA Fans Community in our forums.
End of Product Year
From about March through August is when we see the most turnover in IKEA product range. Although IKEA is constantly discontinuing and introducing new products, the new catalog is issued around August 1st each year (Get the scoop on the 2011 IKEA Catalog in advance!) and products that are being discontinued are marked down and clearanced beginning as early as February. Final destination – the AS-IS room, so if you’re looking for something that’s recently been discontinued, check the AS-IS room first. New products will start showing up in the stores between June and October, and then throughout the year as well.
When IKEA discontinues a product such as the NEXUS Black-Brown doors mentioned above, we often hear concerns from members about Warranty claims. Many IKEA products now offer 10, 15 or 25 year warranties. If the products have been discontinued, how will warranty claims be addressed?
We saw this issue a few years back when people who’d installed STAT yellow kitchens had difficulties with the finish peeling and cracking. At that time, apparently IKEA had no way to honor warranty claims. It is our understanding that IKEA’s intent is to continue to warehouse stock of discontinued items for a number of years so that warranty claims can be fulfilled. Still, the possibility exists that you may have to replace an entire kitchen’s worth of cabinet doors in the future if your warranty claim cannot be fulfilled by IKEA’s customer service department.
How to Find Discontinued IKEA Products
As stated above, your first stop should be the IKEA AS-IS Room (known as the Bargain Corner in some parts of the world) – a thing of wonder and beauty where products that were floor samples, damaged items, some returns and discontinued products are sold at a discount. It’s one more way that IKEA reduces their costs by reducing waste (the AS-IS room is part of the Recovery Department) and selling items that would otherwise be trash.
Often, savvy eBay entrepreneurs will buy up items that are on sale in the AS-IS room and resell them on eBay. Do a search for IKEA on eBay (with your keywords) to find discontinued IKEA merchandise for sale.
Our Swaps and Exchanges forum is another source for discontinued products, as is Craigslist.