Ikea furnishes strong results despite pandemic

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STOCKHOLM: Consumers continued to spend strongly to furnish their homes despite the coronavirus pandemic, the holding company that includes most Ikea stores said Tuesday.

Ingka, which includes shops that account for 90 percent of sales by the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant, suffered only a 5.0 percent drop in revenue for its September 2019-August 2020 financial year, to 37.4 billion euros ($44.4 billion).

Net profit, however, fell by a third to 1.2 billion euros.

The drop in sales was considerably lower than one might have expected given the extent of store closures during the first wave of the pandemic.

Around three-quarters of the 378 Ikea stores owned by Ingka were closed for roughly seven weeks, which works out to a 15 percent reduction in days open for business.

But the fact that sales were down only by a third of that “proves that covid has helped us as a society to pay attention to what’s important in life: health, family, love but also home,” Ingka financial director Juvencio Maetzu told AFP.

Many consumers used lockdown time to work on home improvement projects or invested in creating home offices.

“Our expectation so far is that this year will be even better than the year before,” Maetzu added.

While he declined to cite figures, Maetzu noted that only around a quarter of the stores are currently closed as many countries experience a second or third wave of coronavirus infections.

Ingka decided in June to forgo government aid and return any it had received, because its performance hadn’t suffered considerably from the pandemic.

Present in 38 countries with a staff of 217,000 people, Ikea has a complex structure. In addition to Ingka, there is the Inter Ikea holding company, which owns the brand, controls production and receives payment from franchises.

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