IKEA's revenue fell 75% earlier this year as the retail giant was forced to close its stores due to the coronavirus, according to Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group, which owns and operates about 380 IKEA stores across 30 markets. In an interview with LinkedIn News, he said there was "absolute euphoria" upon the reopening of stores in Europe and North America, with the retailer smashing sales records in nations including the UK, Germany, France and Sweden.
Brodin also told us in the interview:
The best-selling products over the lockdown have been home office items, cooking apparatus and items of storage.
IKEA has a renewed focus on "completing the digital layer", making more products available to more customers online and via an IKEA app so "people can reach us 24/7".
There are plans to open smaller stores within cities – some "planning stores" that act as showrooms (so people can browse products and then order them for delivery) and some accessory stores that only sell smaller items.
He doesn't think we've seen the end of in-person meetings and he misses those water-cooler conversations in the office: "Those undefined moments of work life when you meet at the coffee machine have been under-appreciated."
However, having to travel less has meant "decision making has sped up by probably a factor of 10, only because we have managed to set up meetings quicker".
The pandemic has taught him many valuable things: "The human capacity for coping with the crisis, of reaching out a hand and [collaborating] - putting small things aside and really focusing on what matters has made this a period I will always remember."
And finally: "I learned one thing and that is to maybe worry a little bit less and share the worry with more people so we can get quicker into action."
Ingka Group (IKEA) boss Jesper Brodin joins LinkedIn News UK Editor Emily Spaven for a live discussion. He shares information on: ⭐ How the coronavirus has impacted IKEA revenue, but boosted online sales ⭐ How the firm is repaying governments for the financial support it received ⭐ How it has reopened stores safely ⭐ Which products have proved most popular during lockdown ⭐ How the pandemic has changed the way in which he works ⭐ IKEA's ongoing strategy for 2020 and beyond
It was a pleasure to speak with Emily and all of you who joined the live stream. Covid-19 has impacted us all, in ways we couldn’t imagine, and we need to stay humble to the fact that it is not over just yet. I am inspired by all #IKEA colleagues tireless engagement to support the recovery of our business. Speeding up omni channel to serve the customer wherever and whenever they want.