IKEA’s stocks back at 2019 levels in Europe as transport bottlenecks ease

Warehouses for IKEA stores in Europe are as full as they were before the pandemic after an easing of transport bottlenecks in the region, the retail manager of Ingka Group, which owns most IKEA stores world-wide, said on Thursday.

The world’s biggest furniture brand has been narrowing its range, leasing more ships, buying containers and re-routing goods between warehouses to mitigate global supply chain disruptions during the pandemic and meet record remand.

Tolga Oncu, retail manager at Ingka Group, told Reuters that in Europe, the company’s slimmed down range of goods was now fully stocked.

“If you look at Europe our stores are back at the same inventory levels as we were 2019. This has happened just recently,” he said in an interview at the opening of IKEA’s first inner-city store in Stockholm in Sweden, its’ home market.

“And now is the time to again start widening the range,” he said.

Swedish fashion retailer H&M (HMb.ST) on Wednesday said that while it was still being hit by supply chain disruptions and delays, they were gradually easing.

A large part of IKEA’s range is sourced relatively close to the company’s sales markets. Around 70% of products sold in Europe, where IKEA has the bulk of its turnover, are produced on the continent.

“We have started to see some transport corridors are improving, the flow of goods is improved, lead times from suppliers to our stores are shortening,” Oncu, speaking about Europe, said. He said elsewhere problems remained.

“What we see (in Europe) is that the corridors that were clogged are becoming unclogged. The suppliers of our transports are telling us ‘we have more capacity now to transport your goods’.”