30 years in, how has IKEA continued to contribute to the UK economy?

Posted On: 
7th December 2017

IKEA marks its 30th anniversary of opening in the UK and celebrates significant growth as a business. It looks forward to increasing its number of stores from 20 in the next few years and increasing the 10,900 staff it already employs.


Thirty years after opening our doors to the British public at the first IKEA store in Warrington, we continue to make a significant and positive contribution to the UK economy and society, working hard to fulfil our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people. 

As we celebrate our 30th birthday in the UK, we have announced a sixth consecutive year of growth, with total UK sales of more than £1.8 billion for the financial year ending 31 August 2017 (FY17). This represents an uplift of 5.8% compared to the previous year and a 57% increase over six years. We continued to outperform the home-furnishings market, increasing our share by 0.5% to 8.1%. 

The figures are set out in our annual summary, which provides an overview of IKEA’s contribution to the UK economy and across wider society. 

Accessibility and customer experience

At the core of our business is a desire to meet and inspire people. In the last year, sales and visitation continued to grow across our 20 UK stores, four order and collection points, and online, where investment in new website resulted in a 10% increase in online sales, which now account for 15% of the total. 

Overall, in the UK last year, 57.2 million people visited an IKEA store and 175.8 million visited IKEA.co.uk. 

Despite an uncertain economic outlook, we remain fully committed to investing in the UK. In 2016-17 we opened new stores in Reading and Sheffield and in the coming year we will build and open two further stores in Exeter and in Greenwich. 

Greenwich will be the first full-sized London store built in 13 years and will also be our leading sustainable store, with key features to help people live a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Construction began last week when we broke ground. 

At the same time we are also enhancing existing stores and expanding our distribution and fulfilment infrastructure and services.  

Supporting people 

People are the most important part of IKEA, especially our 10,900 co-workers, who play a vital role in determining how we meet our customers. We value their individuality and diversity, which is what sets us apart. 

As an accredited Living Wage Foundation employer and a Principal Partner of the Living Wage Foundation we pay all our co-workers a meaningful wage and from 1st January 2018 we will apply the new rates of £8.75 across the UK and £10.20 in London.

Last year we created 1000 additional UK jobs and by the end of the coming year we will have employed a further 850 co-workers, in a wide range of roles including customer services, sales and interior design. 

We have also made significant investments in the skills and development of our co-workers, totalling £4 million. We also rolled out new IKEA Employment Standards, which will enhance workplace benefits and improve work-life balance for all employees. 

Society and the environment

At IKEA, we’re also determined to have a positive societal impact on the UK – both people and the environment. In the last year, we have continued to be a leader in sustainability, including by sending zero waste to landfill for the second year in a row, focusing and investing in renewable energy by generating the equivalent of 41% of the energy we use. We also launched a ‘Food is Precious’ initiative, which resulted in a reduction in food waste across all our stores of 32%.

IKEA is on a journey to become a truly circular retailer across our entire value chain and we’re already making major strides in this area, including through furniture and textile take-back schemes, as well as other initiatives.

The next 30 years

We have achieved a lot in the UK during FY17 and even more over 30 years – and we’re proud that we can continue to inspire our co-workers and customers to live more sustainable lives. However, we want to be more ambitious and do even better and as we look forward to the next 30 years we will continue to work closely with our people, our customers, communities and partners to ensure we create a better everyday life for the many people.