Ikea's first-ever results show €2.5bn profit

The furniture retailer has released its results for the first time ever - and, surprise, surprise, profits are up...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
Ikea, the Swedish furniture retailer, has released its results for the first time ever in an effort to dispel the myth that it is ‘highly secretive’. The company says its profits were up by 11.3% between September 2009 and August this year, to €2.5bn (£21.7bn)  – impressive stuff, when you consider how much the furniture market has suffered over the course of the recession. Sales have also risen by 1.4%, from  €21.5bn in 2009 to €21.8bn this year. That’s an awful lot of flat-pack wardrobes and plastic boxes called Sven…

The company, best known for its no-nonsense design and sheep-like shopping experience (not to mention its oddly moreish meatballs) is the largest furniture retailer in the world, with 280 stores in 26 counties and 127,000 staff. The famously frugal outfit (its executives sleep four to a room in the Travelodge when they’re travelling abroad) invests most of its profits into opening new stores – and with one or two new stores opening a year, it has a pretty steady growth strategy.

It looks like the company is planning to speed that up, though. Chief executive Mikael Ohlsson told the Financial Times the company is planning to expand into India, but will only do so if it can find a local partner. Although, considering the level of success the company has had, we can’t imagine it will have much trouble with that. ,

The figures come a year after a former employee, (ex-) senior manager Johan Stenebo, attacked the company’s ‘secretive’ culture in a book called The Truth About Ikea. One of its more bizarre allegations was that the company is run by a ‘sect’ which is ‘allied’ to the company’s owner, Ingvar Kamprad, and his family. According to Stenebo, the company runs a network of spies in its stores, and he even goes as far as to allege that the Swedish management team is disapproving of foreigners.

Whether those allegations are true or not, it’s not great to have employees publishing tell-all memoirs – which is why, explains chief executive Mikael Ohlsson, the company has decided to publish its results on a yearly basis. It will also publish a booklet, ingeniously named ‘Welcome Inside’, which gives employees and customers – as well as suppliers – the chance to find out a bit more about the company.

It’s an interesting tactic – but we’re not sure it’s necessary. When you can get a bookcase for £49, who cares if it’s sold by a sect or not?
Finance Retail

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