U.S. Housing Damages Global Sales at IKEA

Almhult, Sweden–The housing decline has slowed sales on a global level at IKEA, according to CEO and president Anders Dahlvig.”A lot of things are going in the wrong direction,” Dahlvig said, citing inflation, the softening job market and credit crisis. Almhult, Sweden-based IKEA’s international sales growth declined from 15 percent to 11 percent in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, the International Herald Tribune said. The U.S., Germany and Britain were the most affected, but Dahlvig said business in Spain and other European countries is also beginning to slow down.However, IKEA–which operates about 250 stores in 31 countries–now is focusing on developing markets such as China and Eastern Europe.”Slowdowns in the economy are not forever,” Dahlvig said. “It’s better to stick with a strategy than panic.”Home furnishing retailers have been hurt by the U.S. housing decline. In 2007, the home furniture and furnishings sector comprised 27 percent of the total 4,600 store closings, the International Council of Shopping Centers said.