Swedish budget furniture retailer IKEA has reported record annual sales.
Particularly impressive was a 30 percent jump in online revenues – an area it came to rather late.
Sales in the 12 months through to August were up seven percent from the year before at 34.2 billion euros.
IKEA currently has e-commerce operations in half of the 28 countries where it has stores and is about to launch a new online platform in Britain which is eventually due to be rolled out in all its markets.
Thinking outside the big box
Facing off against the likes of Amazon, it is experimenting with smaller outlets that are mainly pick-up and order points.
Currently the company has 22 of those – a big increase from a year ago when it had just three.
“This is part of making IKEA more accessible and making it easier for online shoppers to pick stuff up near to where they live,” chief executive Peter Agnefjall said. “We see these 22 as tests to see which formats and locations work best.
IKEA, which does most of its business in Europe, is looking to good growth opportunities in emerging markets, and plans to enter India late next year.
Agnefjall said Germany remained the company’s single biggest market, generating 4.75 billion euros in sales, although the United States nearly caught up.
In China, sales were still up by a double-digit percentage, helped by the opening of three new stores. Agnefjall said that, unlike many other retailers in China, IKEA was not seeing a slowdown in demand and was planning to step up the pace of expansion in the country over the coming years.
He added growth was also strong in some eastern European countries, with Poland overtaking China as the company’s fastest-growing market.