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Ikea profits climb 3.1% in fiscal year

Stockholm - Ikea Group posted record fiscal year profit, pointing to a recovery in consumer spending and strong growth in the United States, Russia and China.
     The retail home furnishings giant said its net income increased 3.1% to the equivalent of $4.2 billion for the 12 months ending Aug. 31.
     Sales for the year also increased 3.1% to 27.9 billion euros ($36.3 billion), the company said, and same-store sales were up 1.8%, according to news reports. Ikea's largest markets were Germany, the United States (where it operated 38 stores), France, Russia and Sweden.
     "Consumer spending is improving in many countries," Ikea Group President and CEO Peter Agnefjall said. "While the challenging economic situation may not be over, there are positive signs. Important consumer markets, such as the U.S., are coming back and Europe in general is starting to recover."
     He added that the retailer also is seeing "good signs of activity" in challenging markets such as southern Europe.
     Ikea has said it wants to reach sales of 50 billion euros ($65 billion) by 2020, and that large emerging markets are important sources for its future growth. This past fiscal year, the retailer opened two additional stores in China.

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