Ikea UK has reported annual sales of £1.97bn in its 2018 full-year – up 5.9% on the previous year – after 12 months in which it invested both online and offline to offer the seamless service its customers now demand.
The home furnishings retailer, which is ranked Top250 in IRUK Top500 research, says online sales rose by 14.4% to represent 15.5% of total sales during the year to August 31 2018. Visitor numbers increased both online and in-store: 59.8m (4.5%) people visited its UK stores, while its website received 199.3m (+13.4%) visits.
"Our stores will always be an important part of the Ikea brand when it comes to inspiration, touching and feeling our products and this is reflected in the increase in visitation of +4.5% on last year," said Javier Quiñones, country retail manager at Ikea UK. Investment in stores included a total revamp of Ikea Nottingham and a reworking of the Milton Keynes textiles stores. Since the year-end it has opened its first city centre store in the UK, on London’s Tottenham Court Road, However, added Quiñones: "We know that the role of the store is changing. People want to shop in a number of different ways and count on brands to offer them services that reflect the way they live. That’s why we are focused on providing a seamless shopping experience and want to give our customers the choices they expect, no matter how they choose to shop with us."
As well as opening new stores, Ikea has also invested in its distribution and fulfilment, opening two new customer delivery centres and a parcel unit in London. As a result, said Ikea, delivery lead times reduced and parcel deliveries rose by 65.9%.
Products remain a key driver of growth, said Quiñones. "With our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people, we continue to invest in a range that’s affordable, accessible and inspirational. In a tough economic environment, our homes provide a sanctuary and we know that consumers continue to update them with soft furnishings, textiles and decorations, resulting in an increase of +9% in home decoration."
Ikea has also made sustainability a focus over the last year, helping more than 5,000 customers switch to a renewable electricity tariff, and committing to eliminate single-use plastics in its range and restaurants. Single-use plastic straws were removed in the UK and Ireland from October 2018.
Hege Sæbjørnsen, country sustainability manager at IKEA UK, said: “Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond minimising the impact of our own operations to having a positive impact on the world around us. We want to provide services to extend the lives of our products and turn waste into a resource whilst focusing on transforming into a circular IKEA. Being a truly sustainable business is about more than just doing good. It is a huge opportunity and a crucial factor in achieving our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
Image courtesy of Ikea