Demand slump fails to dent Ikea’s earnings

Demand slump fails to dent Ikea's earnings
Swedish furniture maker Ikea took in a record €21.5 billion ($30.1 billion) in earnings so far this year, the company said on Thursday, despite weaker demand.

Ikea said in a statement that sales for the period from September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009 were up by 1.4 percent, compared to a 7.0 percent rise 12 months earlier.

Since last September, 15 new stores have opened worldwide, the statement added.

“It has been a challenging year in which we have had to adapt to changed market conditions. We know that many of our customers have less money to spend and our low price concept is therefore more relevant than ever,” said Ikea’s new chief executive Mikael Ohlsson.

In June, his predecessor Anders Dahlvig said Ikea had slashed cut 5,000 jobs to cope with the drop in demand brought about by the global economic crisis.

Ikea is an unlisted, family-owned company and traditionally does not release regular earnings reports.

It employs 123,000 people worldwide and has 267 stores in 25 countries, with another 34 operating under franchise.

Europe represents 80 percent of Ikea’s sales, while North America makes up for 15 percent and the Asia-Australia region five percent.

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