SWEDISH furniture group Ikea yesterday signalled ambitions to double its turnover and market share in the UK by 2020.
The target was announced despite the company unveiling a slowdown in sales growth in the UK for its latest financial year.
Sales reached £1.3 billion for the financial year ending 31 August, an increase of 3.1 per cent on the previous year.
The figure was down on the previous year’s 6.3 per cent rise, which had marked the biggest surge for six years. Market share edged up by 0.2 per cent to 6.4 per cent in the latest year.
Gillian Drakeford, Ikea’s UK retail manager, said: “With the continued uncertainty around the recovery from the recession, we have continued to invest across our online and in-store shopping channels. We have built a great foundation for strengthening the perception of the Ikea brand in the UK to deliver sustained growth.”
The company said that, as part of investment plans for the UK over the coming year, it will be putting a renewed focus on its kitchens business with an £8m spend earmarked to rebuild showrooms and train staff.
Last month the company announced its group-wide sales figures, which showed rising demand in China, North America and Russia had helped it post a solid rise in sales.
Turnover hit £23.7bn in the year to 31 August, a 3.6 per cent increase after currency movements were taken into account.
Like-for-like sales – which strip out the effects of stores opening or extending – grew by a more modest 1.8 per cent.
However, the company warned that its stores in southern Europe “continued being affected by the current economic situation”.
Ikea did not release information about its profits.
The 2013 sales rise marks a slowdown from the 2012 increase, when global turnover had grown by 9.5 per cent, or 7.1 per cent when adjusted for currency fluctuations.
Globally, the group had also attributed last year’s sales rise to progress in emerging markets such as China and Russia, as well as growth in Germany and the United States.
Ikea was founded in 1943 and now has 303 branches in 26 countries, employing 139,000 staff and being visited by some 690 million customers a year.
Eighteen of the company’s stores are in the UK – including outlets in Edinburgh and Glasgow – and the firm has planning permission to build its 19th store, in Reading. The group also wants to open a branch in Exeter and an outlet next to the Meadowhall retail park in Sheffield.
Gillian Drakeford, Ikea’s retail country manager in China, took over as the country manager for the UK and Ireland on 1 August.
She replaced Carole Reddish, who had been the acting manager in the British Isles for the past 18 months, and who is now in charge of the company’s operations in Norway.
Drakeford was part of the management team that had opened Ikea’s first store in the UK at Warrington in 1987.