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Business news briefs — Feb. 2

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Ikea profits up

Ikea Group, the world’s biggest furniture retailer, said household consumption is recovering in several markets as it reported a gain in annual profit. Net income for the 12 months ended Aug. 31 increased 3.1 percent to $4.5 billion, the vendor of Billy bookshelves said in a statement.

“Household consumption has strengthened in several markets,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Agnefjaell said in a separate statement. “It’s too early to say the difficult economic situation is over but there are positive signs.” Important markets such as the U.S. are recovering, and Ikea sees signs of a general recovery in Europe and an improvement in several southern European markets, said Agnefjaell who became CEO in September after starting his career at an Ikea store in 1995.

Ikea, which sells flat-pack Ektorp sofas for $399, is seeking to double sales by 2020 by improving existing stores, opening new ones and expanding its e-commerce offer. The retailer had 1.3 billion visits to its website during the year, up from 1.1 billion.

Ikea Group owned 303 stores in 26 countries Aug. 31, plus there were 42 stores operated by franchisees. The company said Oct. 14 that its full-year sales rose 3.1 percent, helped by growth in Russia and China.

— Bloomberg News


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