Ikea builds on dominance in key UK market

SWEDISH retailer Ikea has grown to become the home furnishings market leader after a tough year for the sector.

The furniture group said like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland have risen one per cent to £1.2bn in the year to 31st August.

Ikea edged ahead with a six per cent market share at the end of 2009 despite the home market shrinking by 7.4 per cent, analysis by Verdict Consulting shows.

Strong kitchen sales of 11 per cent year-on-year with a 1.4 per cent market share uplift, the biggest shift seen on the market for this period, contributed to the retailer’s success.

Other areas that saw strong growth for the period include home storage, also up 11 per cent, as well as dining solutions, up nine per cent, and childrens products, up four per cent.

The group said an £11m investment in its stores, including the addition of self scan check outs in 12 out of its 19 stores, also helped to boost sales.

Ikea UK and Ireland’s country manager Martin Hansson said: “It has been another challenging year for us but despite the overall home furnishings market being in decline, we have delivered a small growth.

“By staying close to our customers we have understood they are more conscious of price but do not want to compromise on quality, design or good service. We have focused on always offering the lowest priced products across each area of the home.”

● Ingvar Kamprad founded the company in 1943 in Sweden aged 17 – the name includes his initials.

● The retailer operates 280 stores in 26 countries with another 34 operated by franchisees, generating global turnover of €23.8bn (£20.6bn).