Homeware demand buoys ‘resilient’ Ikea after stores closed in lockdown

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Ikea has hailed “resilient” trading over the past year as soaring demand for homeware from locked-down shoppers helped it to shake off some of the impact of store closures.

The Swedish retailer’s UK business has revealed total sales of £1.9 billion for the year to August 31, down 10.2% against the previous year.

Its stores remain shut due to coronavirus restrictions and were closed for a significant part of the past financial year amid the first national lockdown.

However, it said it was buoyed by strong growth in its online operations as customers turned to its home delivery services.

Coronavirus – Sun Nov 1, 2020
Shoppers queue outside Ikea in Batley, West Yorkshire before the November lockdown in England (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ikea’s UK chief Peter Jelkeby told the PA news agency that it was a “year of acceleration” as already-burgeoning growth in its online business grew rapidly.

“2020 was the year that changed everything – from the way we live our daily lives, to the way we do business,” he said.

Mr Jelkeby said demand from customers was not quashed by the closure of stores.

“It meant we could still deliver really resilient trading, while there was still pent-up demand from shoppers wanting to visit stores.

“There has been real focus on people’s homes over the year – people have had the opportunity to think about what they look like, what they need, and that has shown in our sales.”

The company said the rapid increase in home working resulted in a 322% increase in small desk demand in June, while there was a 136% increase for its Markus office chair.

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