Import reliant

IKEA counts cost of Brexit as furniture import prices soar

An Ikea store in the UK
An Ikea store in the UK
Photo: AFP

(Bloomberg) IKEA, the Swedish flat-pack furniture empire, has become one of the few retailers to quantify the financial effects of Brexit.

Costs at IKEA UK, which is heavily reliant on imports, jumped by 13.7% in the year through August, the company said in a statement Tuesday. That increase was driven by the drop in sterling after last year’s vote to leave the European Union.

"To keep our range accessible and affordable for the many, we absorbed most of these costs, increasing prices by just 3.6%," IKEA ’s UK and Ireland head, Gillian Drakeford, said in the statement.

British retailers such as Tesco and J Sainsbury  have been cutting thousands of jobs in response to rising costs but have provided few details. 

Fashion retailer Next said the pound was worth 14% less when it was sourcing garments for this year’s autumn-winter collection. But excess manufacturing capacity enabled the company to strike better deals with suppliers and limit price rises in its shops to 4%.

In the UK, IKEA ’s sales rose by 5.8%, boosted by two new store openings. Overall, IKEA’s annual retail sales rose 3.6% to €34.1 billion, driven by growth in China, Germany, Canada and Poland.

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