Flat-pack furniture specialist Ikea has today reported a total sales rise of 6.3 per cent to £1.23 billion in the UK & Ireland, its biggest growth in six years following an investment in improving the customer shopping experience.
For the financial year ending August 31st 2012, like-for-like (LFL) sales grew 6.3 per cent while its market share increased by 0.4 per cent to 6.8 per cent.
Ikea then, remains a leader in the market, maintaining strong growth despite the 2.2 per cent drop in total sales in the home furnishing sector reported by analyst group Verdict.
During the year, the Swedish company invested some £30 million in improving the overall customer experience, which saw £4.7 million spent on lowering the cost of in-store delivery, as well as multi-million pound redesign projects at its Birmingham and Warrington stores.
From a multichannel perspective, Ikea launch an m-commerce site and developed a number of apps which sit alongside the new 2013 catalogue and online LFLs rocketed 24.9 per cent over the period as a further 1500 products were made available online.
As it celebrates 25 years in the UK, Ikea has continued to consider a sustainable future and invested a total of £3.3 million in 2012 in installing solar panels on store roofs across the country.
By 2016, the homewares specialist intends to convert all of its lighting range to LED, saving 85 per cent of energy and also aims to offer the most energy efficient and cost effective products on the market.
Looking ahead, Carole Reddish, Ikea UK and Ireland Acting Country Manager, said: “In these challenging times it is very humbling that our efforts to give customers the best value for money home furnishings and inspiring solutions for their life at home has resulted in such strong growth.
“Despite 2012 being a tough year for retail, we listened carefully to what our customers were telling us and invested heavily in improvements to the shopping experience.
“We know that we still have a lot of work ahead to ensure that all who shop with Ikea, both in-store and online, have a great shopping experience.
“In the coming year we have an ambition to revitalise our brand identity in the UK. We will continue to show customers that we understand the challenges they face every day in their homes, connecting our value for money offer with their needs and their dreams.
“We will also provide thousands of practical ideas, solutions and points of inspiration that will give loyal customers something new on every visit and will encourage new customers to consider Ikea for the first time.”