Jan. 23 - IKEA Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, posts a record net profit for the 2011/12 year, helped by sales and market share growth as budget design enticed austerity-hit shoppers. Matt Cowan reports.
27 billion euros is today's daily digit in Europe - record revenue at the Swedish furniture group Ikea. It was up 9.5 percent for the year to last August. Net profit was up 8 percent to 3.2 billion euros, another record. Still, operating profit shrank by 3 percent largely thanks to a strategy of not passing on higher raw material costs to the customer. The privately-held firm is known around the world for its low-price, self-assembly furniture. It puts its success down to consumers needing cheaper goods during economic downturns. It gained share in all markets while like-for-like sales growth in Europe, where it does most of its business, remained constant. Last year Ikea announced plans to boost expansion and open 25 news stores a year by 2015 - with an aim to double sales by 2020. New horizons include Serbia, Croatia and South Korea - along with India - where a key investment board has just backed its bid the set up stores.