Swedish furniture giant Ikea enjoys record £29bn sales
Swedish flat pack furniture giant Ikea has seen full-year sales rise 7.1% to a record €34.2bn (£28.8bn), helped by rapid growth in China.
The world's biggest furniture company, which has a store just outside Belfast, said that 783 million customers walked through its doors over the past 12 months, with like-for-like sales rising 4.8%.
Peter Agnefjall, the group's chief executive and president, said: "Last year's focus on the theme 'It starts with the food', covering kitchen, cooking, eating, and the food business, was a strong success and appreciated by the customers."
Alongside China, Ikea added that Australia, Canada and Poland are all among its fastest growing markets.
Germany, Ikea's largest market, followed by the US, also showed record growth.
The firm said it also remains on track to open the first Ikea stores in India and Serbia during the coming year.
"In the coming year we will put even more effort in providing a great Ikea experience for visitors across all channels.
"These efforts are only made possible by the engaged co-workers who have, as always, done an amazing job during the year," Mr Agnefjall added.
Meanwhile, online grocer Ocado saw shares slump after warning about a "sustained" hit from the sector's fierce price war, and said there was no sign of a let-up.
The stock plunged by as much as 15% as chief executive Tim Steiner cautioned over the group's profit margins, which are being squeezed as supermarkets slash prices in the face of increased competition.
The gloomy outlook overshadowed an otherwise impressive trading statement, with its best rise in sales by volume in more than five years.