(Wall Street Journal) IKEA Regrets Cutting Women From Saudi Ad
STOCKHOLM—Representatives for Swedish furniture giant IKEA on Monday apologized for removing women from some of the photos in catalogs shipped to Saudi Arabia, and said the blame lies squarely with them, not the local franchisee.
The move to manipulate photos sparked criticism from government officials in Sweden and raised questions about how IKEA is living up to its own values.
IKEA's catalog is shipped all over the world, with the company this year expected to publish 200 million copies with 62 different versions. The bulk of the catalog is exactly the same in most markets, but the company has said in the past it tailors the images to suit fashion-related tastes of local markets.
In some cases, however, the catalog is changed to align with cultural standards.
A comparison of the Saudi catalog to a standard version of the catalog showed that several women photographed in the standard version are missing from pages of the Saudi version. Otherwise, the photos throughout the catalog appear to be virtually identical.