Ikea opening record number of stores globally in 2020, despite shoppers moving online

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Furniture retailer Ikea plans to open a record number of stores this year, even if more purchases have been made online.

The world’s largest furniture retailer announced that it will open more than 50 stores, with most locations in cities and urban centers.

“In doing so, we have accelerated our drive to become more accessible,” Jon Abrahamsson Ring, Ikea’s newly appointed managing director of the brand, told the Financial Times of the company’s new business plans. “It will never be the case again that we only open large stores. It will be a mix of formats, including smaller stores that are closer to where people live, work or move.”

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Ikea currently has more than 430 floors in 52 counties and is known for its large, sprawling warehouse locations outside of major city centers.

Ikea will open a record number of over 50 branches in the current financial year, said the new CEO on Tuesday. (iStock)

Going forward, the Financial Times reports that Ikea is experimenting with smaller stories and “kitchen planning studies” while offering services such as delivery, assembly and furniture rental.

The company said Tuesday that when the coronavirus caused many to convert their bedrooms into offices, it found many “rediscovered homes as places to work, relax and socialize”.

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Jesper Brodin, head of Ingka Group, a franchise that runs most of Ikea stores, told the BBC that after long stays indoors, people are increasingly interested in improving their homes.

“From the first day we opened, we had a great interest in coming back to our stores,” he said on Wednesday.

Ikea also reported Tuesday that online retail sales increased 45% this year and the IKEA website received four billion visits. E-commerce expanded into three new markets, including China, according to the company.

While online sales have increased, that doesn’t mean Ikea bucked the trend as retailers have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and associated store closures.

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According to the Financial Times, sales for Ikea’s fiscal year, which ended in August, declined 4% due to store closures.

“We’re excited about the growth in online sales, but also that customers still love our businesses,” Ring said in a press release. “People want to touch our products and try them out or receive personal help.”

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