IKEA will open a record FIFTY new stores this year

IKEA will open a record FIFTY new stores this year due to rise in demand for flat-pack furniture during lockdown as the Swedish firm boasts £36billion sales

  • IKEA announced 50 shops will open, mainly in city centres, this financial year
  • There are currently 445 stores run by the brand after 30 opened last year
  • Sales have fallen by 4 per cent to £36bn, but they are much stronger than feared 

IKEA is opening a record 50 new stores worldwide this year after demand surged during lockdown.

The Swedish flat-pack shop will capitalise on the growing market by opening the stores in city centres, including in the UK, within the next financial year.

The new shops will be smaller than its traditional out-of-town warehouses and comes despite the growth in online sales.

IKEA is opening 50 new stores worldwide this year after demand surged during lockdown. Pictured: shoppers in Wembley queueing outside a shop as it reopened after lockdown

The new shops will be smaller than its traditional out-of-town warehouses and comes despite the growth in online sales

The announcement is an increase on the previous financial year when 30 stores were opened. 

It is not known how many of the new stores will be in the UK, but one will be in Hammersmith, London. 

There are currently 445 stores run by the brand and its biggest franchisee says demand is rising after lockdown as homeowners look to make improvements.

IKEA’s sales fell by four per cent in the year to August, but bosses said the £36billion figure is a lot higher than they had expected.

Online sales also boomed, rising by 50 per cent as customers were forced to head online for their shopping. 

Keen shoppers were seen queueing from 5am on June 1 to get inside after being locked out for months

The chain was one of the first to reopen on June 1 after the government ordered shops closed during lockdown.

Keen shoppers were seen queueing from 5am to get inside after being locked out for months. 

Jesper Brodin, boss of Ingka Group, a franchise company that operates the majority of Ikea stores, told the BBC: ‘We were expecting a gradual ramp-up in our business, but we like many others were absolutely wrong.

‘From day one of opening we have had a tremendous interest in coming back to our stores.’ 

The chain was one of the first to reopen on June 1 after the government ordered shops closed during lockdown

IKEA said in June it would repay money it received from state aid as their stores were forced to close.

Despite being back workers in the US and Ireland, the chain did not include the UK, where 10,000 employees were furloughed.

Jon Abrahamsson Ring, an IKEA veteran who became CEO of brand owner and franchisor Inter IKEA in March, said demand for IKEA’s lowest-priced ranges had grown during the crisis to make up 60 per cent of sales in May-August, against around 45 per cent usually.

He said: ‘Low prices has become super relevant in this period with the uncertainty.’

IKEA’s sales fell by four per cent in the year to August, but bosses said the £36billion figure is a lot higher than they had expected

E-commerce jumped 45 per cent to account for 15 per cent of total retail sales. Inter IKEA said online sales remained high even after stores, most of which closed temporarily for an average of four weeks early in the pandemic, re-opened. 

Jesper Brodin told Reuters that in recent weeks, the retailer’s sales were up 7-8 per cent year-on-year.

‘Corona has without doubt impacted the interest in life at home. But it’s to a degree that we hadn’t really expected,’ he said.

He said early in the crisis demand was focused on primarily on office and cooking products but now demand was now up across the range.

‘We don’t think the strength of the interest in life at home was a pent-up need. Had that been the case we’d have seen a slowdown many weeks ago.’

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