Belfast Telegraph

Matresses and meatballs send Ikea's UK sales up 11%

By Holly Williams

Furniture maker Ikea reported a surge in UK sales thanks to high shopper demand for a new range of mattresses and the ongoing appeal of its Swedish meatballs.

The group said total UK sales rose 11.3% to £1.57bn in the year to August 31 as the company also invested £27m in lowering prices across its ranges.

It said mattress sales bounced 30% higher after it revamped its bedroom furniture offering across all of its 18 British stores, launching UK standard bed, mattress and linen sizes.

Ikea added that food sales also rose 11% in the year, helped by the move to sell Swedish produce throughout stores, as well as high demand for its ever-popular meatballs and recently introduced veggie balls.

The group posted an 11% rise in worldwide annual sales to a record £22.37bn in September, with comparable store sales up 5.1%.

Britain accounted for around 6% of global sales and was the group's fifth largest market.

The company is launching a new store in Reading next summer - its first in the UK for seven years - while earmarking other locations in Sheffield, Greenwich in London and Exeter.

The group, which is also trialling a small retail format, opened its first order and collection point in Norwich earlier this month, with another on the cards for Aberdeen sometime next spring.

The flat-pack furniture maker did not say if it was looking at any order and collection points in Northern Ireland.

"We are also exploring a number of other potential locations across the UK," a spokeswoman for the firm added.

UK retail manager Gillian Drakeford said: "While we have seen fantastic growth this year, we recognise that we have still some steps to take in simplifying the shopping experience and also in meeting the expectations of UK consumers.

"In the next year and beyond, we will take some significant steps in our plan to make Ikea more accessible to many more people."

Earlier this year, the firm became the first large national retailer to commit to paying staff the incoming living wage of £9.15 an hour in London and £7.85 across the UK from April.

The company has one store in Northern Ireland, at Belfast's Holywood Exchange retail park, and another in Dublin's Ballymun.

Belfast Telegraph