Czech furniture sellers run off their legs

Czech consumers are spending record sums on furniture, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Friday. According to the Association of Czech Furniture Makers, Czechs spent some 35 billion crowns on furniture last year, which is three billion more than in 2014. Experts expect the figures to rise even higher in the future.

Photo: archive of IKEAPhoto: archive of IKEA Higher salaries, the booming reality market and a willingness to invest in homes are said to be the main factors behind the positive situation of furniture makers.

At the moment, more than 50 percent of the country’s furniture market is controlled by the six largest furniture retailers: Ikea, XXX Lutz, Jysk, Asko Nábytek, Sconto Nábytek and Kika. According to Hospodářské noviny, they want to use the favourable situation to their advantage and are planning to expand.

For instance Swedish furniture giant Ikea, the biggest player on the Czech furniture market, saw record profits in 2015. Its sales accounted for nearly 8.5 billion crowns and its profit rose by more than 50 percent on the previous year to 600 million crowns.

While Asko and Sconto Nábytek have already launched online stores, Ikea customers can only shop on-line at one of their stores in the Prague district of Zličín.

Marek Feltl, the general director of Ikea for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, told Hospdářské noviny that they are planning to introduce the system in all their supermarkets by the summer.

Ikea is also planning to establish external pick-up points, which would enable easier and faster shipment of orders.

The Swedish chain has four stores in the Czech Republic, two of them in the capital and one each in Brno and Ostrava. It has also been considering smaller stores where people could only chose and order their goods. Similar facilities are already operating in Germany, Spain, and Austria.

According to the prediction of the Association of Czech Furniture Makers, the large furniture chains are expected to expand in the near future but they are slowly reaching their limits. The deputy head of the association, Tomáš Lukeš, told the daily that larger furniture chains will never be able to cater for exclusive clients, adding that Czechs are increasingly more willing to spend on high-quality, custom made furniture.