Ikea’s chief executive said that “online saved us” this year during the coronavirus crisis, as three quarters of stores were shut for over six months.
Jesper Brodin, head of Ikea’s largest franchise operator Ingka Group, said that ecommerce sales prevented the retailer from reporting a “record loss” this year.
In the 12 months to August 30, the Swedish furniture giant reportedly saw online sales jump 45 per cent, representing 18 per cent of total sales for the first time.
Speaking to Bloomberg Markets Brodin said this was a significant boost rising form just 11 per cent a year earlier.
He explained that while Ikea was pushing ahead with significant store expansion plans, it has reaffirmed plans for “retail transformation” which include major digital investments and the roll out of smaller more urban stores.
He added that its flagship big-box stores have helped it quickly shift towards a more online focused model, acting as places “which serve home delivery and fulfilment”.
In a separate interview with the Financial Times Broding explained: “All the investments we have done in the past years paid off extraordinarily. We were able in some places within days to switch to online.”
Meanwhile he told Bloomberg that Ikea’s goal moving forward was to “become more accessible for people where they are whenever they like”, adding that coronavirus has “accentuated and speeded up that shift for us”.