Madrid, Oct 10 (AFP) Swedish furniture giant Ikea on Wednesday reported rising sales for the year to August, helped by a big push online and new store openings, including its first in India.Also Read - IKEA to Launch First City Store in Mumbai Soon. Check Location, Services & Opening Date

Total store turnover, comprising sales of both products and services, rose 1.3 percent to 38.8 billion euros ($44.5 billion) from 38.3 billion euros a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Also Read - Worldscape: Can Castillo Ace Fujimori’s "Trump Card"

Adjusted for currency impact, sales were up 4.5 percent at its over 400 worldwide stores. Also Read - Zinedine Zidane Slams Real Madrid Board And President in Explosive Open Letter

“It was an incredible year,” Jesper Brodin, the new CEO of the Ingka Group which owns the bulk of Ikea stores, told reporters in Madrid at an event to promote its new city centre store in the Spanish capital timed to coincide with the release of the yearly results.

Best known for its low-cost flat-pack furniture and sprawling out-of-town stores, Ikea opened 19 new outlets around the globe, including its first in India and Latvia in August. It is now present in over 50 markets worldwide.

Ikea announced it will open its first store in the Ukraine in 2019, after a decade of negotiations, and on Tuesday the company said it plans to bring its products to South America for the first time with new openings “soon” in Chile, Colombia and Peru.

The company’s results were also helped by rising online sales. Ikea’s websites received 2.5 billion visits, an 8.7 percent jump over its previous fiscal year.

Ikea recently begun opening smaller shops in city centres that have less stock as part of a major transformation that has also seen it move more resources to e-commerce and focus more on emerging markets.

As part of its push into online sales Ikea offers an augmented reality app which allows customers to place furniture virtually in their home.

Brodin said the opening of city centre shops was a response to changing lifestyles since fewer people own cars.

Ingka Group said in a separate statement that its full-year sales rose to 34.8 billion euros from 34.1 billion euros a year earlier.

Ikea is not listed and as a result it is not obligated to publish its net profit or other financial details.

The company’s founder Ingvar Kamprad, who turned a small-scale mail order business he founded as a teenager in 1943 at his family’s farm into one of the world’s best known furniture, died in January aged 91. (AFP) PMS PMS

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.