Ikea feels the pinch as store sales are hit

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Swedish furniture giant Ikea has became the latest retailer to feel the pinch in the UK as battered consumer confidence and a sluggish housing market hit sales.

The chain, which has 18 stores in the UK, yesterday revealed that like-for-like sales in the year to August 31 fell 3 per cent to £1.15bn, as the consumer spending squeeze, driven by higher prices and lower wage growth, took hold.

But the company, which has 280 stores in 26 countries, said it was still able to increase share of the home furnishings market in the UK from 6.1 per cent to 6.3 per cent and pledged to invest £26.6m over the next year in improving its store environment.

Martin Hansson, Ikea UK’s country manager, said: “Low consumer confidence, coupled with the stagnant housing market has resulted in another tough year for us.”

The firm did add that online sales had increased by more than 25 per cent.