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Susan Dickenson

Ikea financial info revealed for first time; 2010 sales rise 7.7% to $31.7 billion

Ikea has publicly disclosed financial information for the first time. The family-owned, unlisted Swedish retailer said its net profit rose 11.3% to $3.4 billion in the 2009 financial year compared with the previous year. Sales for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010 rose 7.7% to $31.7 billion. Ikea financial information disclosed

James Lamont and Andrew Ward, writing for the U.K.'s Financial Times, said the announcement was made by the retailer in an effort to rid itself of a "reputation of being highly secretive."

The company employs 127,000 employees at 280 stores in 26 countries and, writes Lamont and Ward, has faced criticism for closely guarding its financial performance and for an opaque ownership structure.

Mikael Ohlsson, Ikea's chief executive, has made greater transparency for employees and customers one of his top priorities. The decision to do so comes a year after Ikea's business culture came under attack from a former employee. Johan Stenebo, a former senior manager, published a tell-all book called The Truth About Ikea, which alleged the company was run by a sect and that it ran an internal network of spies.

Ikea wants to expand in China, Russia and India. Ikea sources $686 million worth of supplies in India and could double this within three years, Ohlsson said.

Mr Ohlsson said the group will publish a summary of its financial results on a yearly basis as well as a document called "Welcome Inside," explaining more about the company to its employees, suppliers and customers.

Read Lamont and Ward's story here: http://www.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/10/01/ikea.sweden.profits.ft/

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