IKEA to open 50 new stores this year after huge increase in demand
8 October 2020, 12:00 | Updated: 8 October 2020, 12:02
Swedish flat pack store IKEA has confirmed plans to open 50 stores in the next year.
It’s good news for flat-pack fans, because Ikea will be opening a whopping 50 new stores worldwide this year.
The Swedish chain already has 445 stores, but after a surge in demand over lockdown, there are now plans to put smaller new stores in city centres, including in the UK.
While stores will hold less stock than the traditional out-of-town warehouses, they are set to become ‘more accessible’ to millions of people.
It is not yet known how many of new IKEAs will be in the UK, but one will be its first city-centre shop in Hammersmith, west London, which is due to open in spring.
New chief executive of Inter - who owns Ikea - told the Financial Times: “This is how we have accelerated in our ambition to become more accessible.
Jon Abrahamsson Ring continued: “It’s never going to be that we go back to only opening big stores. It will be a mix of formats, including smaller stores closer to where people live or work or move.”
Ingka Group, a franchise company that operates the majority of Ikea stores, also attributed the expansion plans to rising demand after lockdown.
Boss Jesper Brodin told BBC: “We were expecting a gradual ramp-up in our business [when our stores began to reopen around the world], but we like many others were absolutely wrong.
“From day one of opening we have had a tremendous interest in coming back to our stores.”
The news comes despite Ikea revealing a fall in annual revenues during the coronavirus pandemic after about three-quarters of its stores were closed during the peak.
Sales also dropped 4% to €39.6bn (£32.8bn), but online sales increased almost 50%.
But demand for IKEA's lowest-priced ranges grew during the pandemic, making up 60% of sales in May-August, compared to around 45% usually.
Meanwhile, the chain was one of the first stories to reopen on June 1 after the government shut all shops during the peak of lockdown.
Keen to get their hands on some new furniture, shoppers were seen queueing from 5am around the country to get first pick.