IKEA Annual Sales Rise 7%

Stockholm, Sweden Sales at IKEA rose 7% in its latest financial year, a Swedish newspaper reported on Wednesday. The report also quoted its top executive as saying the global economic slowdown is weighing on the retailer.

Sales at IKEA rose to 21.2 billion euros ($30 billion) in the year ended Aug 31, business daily Dagens Industri reported. Sales in the prior year were 19.8 billion euros, according to IKEA's Web site.

Despite the rising sales, the global slowdown is having an effect on the firm, the report said.

"Obviously we are not immune to such a significant worsening of the economic situation," CEO Anders Dahlvig told Dagens Industri, although he told the newspaper that excluding currency effects growth was 10%.

"Furthermore, the business cycle is particularly weak in several of our biggest markets, like Germany, the United States and England," Dahlvig said.

According to IKEA's Web site, Germany accounted for 16% of sales in the 2007 fiscal year, ahead of the United States at 10% and Britain and France at 9% each.

However, the company plans to slow expansion.

"We plan to ease the pace of new-store establishment from 2010 and from then the number of new stores will fall to 10-15 per year from 20-25," Dahlvig said.

IKEA opened 22 new warehouse stores in its latest financial year.

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