Swedish furniture giant Ikea has robust finances despite the economic crisis and will more than double the pace of its new store openings, company officials told a Swedish newspaper on Tuesday.
"Thanks to our very strong finances, we have the possibility to invest the significant sums that are needed, even when times are tough in general," Goeran Grosskopf, chairman of the Ingka Holding parent company that comprises all of the Ikea businesses, told financial daily Dagens Industri.
"By 2020 we aim to have almost doubled Ikea's size," he added.
According to Dagens Industri, Ikea plans to build 20 to 25 new stores per year by 2020 compared to the current rate of six to 10 per year.
That is also expected to create tens of thousands of jobs worldwide.
"As we see it, our voyage has just begun. We see a huge potential for growth, both on existing markets and new ones," Ikea chief executive Mikael Ohlsson told the newspaper.
"We have grown faster than expected and are consistently gaining market share," he added.
"Our figures (for the 2011-2012 fiscal year) are not yet completely ready, but on a preliminary basis our sales rose by about 7.0 percent," Ohlsson said.
Contacted by AFP, Ikea did not want to provide any detailed figures.
"We'll get back to you in January when we're finished counting," company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said.
According to Dagens Industri's own calculations, sales for the fiscal year September 2011 to August 2012 should tick in around 26.4 billion euros ($34.6 billion).
Ikea has 297 stores in 26 countries, with some 655 million customers each year. Some 211 million copies of its catalogue are printed in 29 languages.