Ikea sales up in first ever published results

image captionIkea's sales growth has been boosted by expansion in Asia and elsewhere

Privately-owned Ikea has published its financial results for the first time, revealing a 7.7% rise in sales.

Total sales were 23.1bn euros ($31.7bn, £20bn) for the year ending in August, the company said.

The growth may reflect international expansion, and the Swedish furniture retailer did not give a separate "like-for-like" figure that strips out the effect of new store openings.

It did not give a profit figures for the year, however.

But it did say it made 2.5bn over the previous year, despite a global recession that saw sales rise by just 1.4%.

Growth strategy

The company said that the bulk of its 2009 profits were reinvested in the company's expansion.

"Good profitability is needed to carry out our extensive growth programme on existing as well as new markets, " said Mikael Ohlsson, who took over as chief executive in 2009.

The company, has 127,000 employees and 280 stores in 26 countries. Last financial year it opened 12 new stores.

Mr Ohlsson has said that he is keen to expand in Asia, with Korea and India likely to be next.

The company already has a presence in China, Japan and Australia.

However, despite its global ambitions, 79% of Ikea's sales still come from Europe.

'Increasing interest'

Mr Ohlsson said the company had decided to begin publishing its financial results on an annual basis for the benefit of other companies who do business with Ikea.

"The yearly summary is aimed at our co-workers and suppliers as well as other stakeholders, who have shown an increasing interest in knowing more about different parts of Ikea," he said.

The company is owned by a charitable foundation controlled by its founder, Ingvar Kamprad.

The foundation funds initiatives designed to improve the rights of children and youth in the developing world.

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