Online sales, foreign expansion boost Ikea sales

MADRID (AFP) – Swedish furniture giant Ikea on Wednesday reported rising sales for the year to August, helped by a big push online and new store openings, including its first in India.

Total store turnover, comprising sales of both products and services, rose 1.3 per cent to 38.8 billion euros (USD44.5 billion) from 38.3 billion euros a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Adjusted for currency impact, sales were up 4.5 per cent at its over 400 worldwide stores.

“It was an incredible year,” Jesper Brodin, the new CEO of the Ingka Group which owns the bulk of Ikea stores, told reporters in Madrid at an event to promote its new city centre store in the Spanish capital timed to coincide with the release of the yearly results.

Best known for its low-cost flat-pack furniture and sprawling out-of-town stores, Ikea opened 19 new outlets around the globe, including its first in India and Latvia in August. It is now present in over 50 markets worldwide.

Chief Executive Officer of IKEA group Jesper Brodin. – AFP

Ikea announced it will open its first store in the Ukraine in 2019, after a decade of negotiations, and on Tuesday the company said it plans to bring its products to South America for the first time with new openings “soon” in Chile, Colombia and Peru.

The company’s results were also helped by rising online sales. Ikea’s websites received 2.5 billion visits, an 8.7 per cent jump over its previous fiscal year.

Ikea recently begun opening smaller shops in city centres that have less stock as part of a major transformation that has also seen it move more resources to e-commerce and focus more on emerging markets.

As part of its push into online sales Ikea offers an augmented reality app which allows customers to place furniture virtually in their home.