Ikea UK sales soar and retailer promises faster fulfilment

Ikea UK said today (7 November) that total annual sales in the 12 months to 31 August 2019 grew by 8% to £2.1 billion, while online revenue jumped 27%.

The furniture retailer also promised faster eCommerce fulfilment will be in place by the end of the year.

In its annual report, the company spoke positively about what it described as its “first year of business transformation” which is focused on making the business more convenient for customers and better for the environment.

In time for 2020, Ikea expects to offer 24-hour delivery to online customers in London and delivery within two days across the rest of the UK, matching growing consumer demand for immediacy. This consumer promise will be supported by the two new customer delivery centres that opened in London during the last financial year.

Peter Jelkeby, who was appointed Ikea's country retail manager for the UK and Ireland in May, said the business's transformation “will bring a greater focus on affordability, convenience and being people and planet positive”. Results of this drive are set to bear fruit over the coming years, resulting in “a new Ikea by 2021”, he added.

That agenda includes more of a concerted focus on making business decisions with the environment in mind, creating gender equality in terms of senior team representation, and continuing to follow consumer behaviour to ensure it has the most suitable retailing proposition.

“During the first year of our transformation, we made our multichannel offering more flexible and accessible as we know that customers’ expectations and how they shop with us is changing,” Jelkeby commented.

“We opened a second kitchen and bedroom planning studio in Bromley and updated our digital capabilities to make it easier for customers to access our product range online. Our 27% increase in online sales since last year is evidence that investments in the digital experience, with a particular focus on mobile, is paying off.”

Tech-related investments in recent months include the launch of an augmented reality app, allowing people to digitally visualise how Ikea products might look in their homes, as well as a mobile app centred on helping customers plan their store visits in advance.

In the last financial year, Ikea also opened what it describes as its most sustainable store, in Greenwich, as well as two planning studio spaces in London.

Some 224 million reportedly visited the Ikea UK website over the course of the year, and online sales at the retailer represent 19% of total sales – up from 15.5% in the previous financial year.