How 11 Iconic Stores Got Their Names

IKEA

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Unlike the names of many of its products, IKEA's name isn't a Swedish word. It's actually an acronym that the furniture giant's founder, who was only 17 years old at the time, came up with. The young entrepreneur, Ingvar Kamprad, took his own initials and combined them with the first letters of his old home. Kamprad hailed from a farm called Elmtaryd, located in the Swedish village of Agunnayrd, hence the E and the A. But the company doesn't stop there when it comes to its affinity for strange titles—this is how IKEA's products get their unusual names.

Walmart

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Walmart began as Walton's 5&10, a small-town store in Bentonville, Arkansas, owned by (and named after) Sam Walton. In 1955, Walton would hire a man named Bob Bogle to manage the 5&10, so that Walton could focus on expanding and opening more variety stores. In 1962, Walton realized the heyday of small variety stores was coming to an end and decided to open a larger discount store. Before that first store opened, in Rogers, Arkansas, it was Bogle who decided to combine the first syllable of the founder's name with "mart." "Wal-Mart Discount City" was officially on the map. In 2017, the company chose to nix the hyphen as a symbol of the "one-ness" they wanted the company and its name to convey. Walmart's president and CEO Doug McMillon shared, "Whether it's in our stores, on our sites, with our apps, by using their voice or whatever comes next, there is just one Walmart as far as our customers are concerned."

H&M

Revealed--This-Is-What-H&M-Stands-For-7934988e-Andrew-GombertEpaREXShutterstock-FBAndrew Gombert/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Just like IKEA, this popular clothing retailer got its start in Sweden. In 1947, 30-year-old Erling Persson launched a women's clothing retailer called Hennes, the Swedish word for "hers," in Västerås, Sweden. The company grew in popularity throughout Scandinavia, and in 1968, Persson acquired another, very different company called Mauritz Widforss. Mauritz was a hunting and fishing retailer, but Persson decided to have the merged companies stick to clothing, though he did expand his offerings to men's and children's clothing as well. He changed its name to Hennes & Mauritz, and H&M as we know it today was born. (That abbreviation, though, wouldn't replace Hennes & Mauritz as the official name of the company until 1974.) Of course, no one could guess what H&M stands for without knowing the backstory—just like these 30 common acronyms you hear all the time.

That was How 11 Iconic Stores Got Their Names

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