Danish furniture and home furnishings brand JYSK has announced record results in the UK and Ireland during the financial year 2019/20, with total sales reaching €41m – an increase of +74% YoY.

Despite a challenging year for the retail market, with forced store closures during lockdown periods, over 860,000 customers (a +55% YoY increase) in the UK and Ireland chose to shop at the Scandinavian chain, confirming a UK-wide trend that has seen homewares sales soar.

While the challenges many retailers faced during 2020 were mostly financial, the behind the scenes logistics were also tested for JYSK, as it received soaring demand. With shopping choices limited, many customers turned to ecommerce – almost a quarter (24%) of JYSK’s total annual orders were made online.

JYSK says it made no redundancies or staff layoffs despite the store closures resulting from the pandemic – increasing sales and improving trends as the year progressed actually led to an increase in the number of employees since stores re-opened during the summer.

Country manager JYSK UK & Ireland, Roni Tuominen (pictured), says: “Whilst it has been a tough year for retail in many ways, we are very pleased with the results. In Ireland, we were able to contribute positive EBIT after just one full financial year. Whilst the EBIT result is not yet at our target levels, to be able to achieve this positive result alongside the significant level of investment and expansion we have done is quite remarkable.”

The company, which announced the merger of JYSK UK and Ireland earlier this year, said that synergies achieved would help to improve overall profitability for the company. “We’ve seen great improvements and positive trends in the UK towards the latter part of this year following the merger of the UK and Irish organisation," adds Roni. "This turnaround project that started in June has already resulted in significant growth on our sales and customer numbers. UK customer numbers alone grew by +55% compared to last year."

Roni says that JYSK will continue to push forward with its plan to open a further five stores in the UK and eight in Ireland this financial year.

“We are very confident in both the UK and Ireland markets and we will continue with our expansion plans over the next 12 months," he comments. "The appetite is there for home furnishing products amongst our customers, perhaps now more than ever as the nation continues to spend more at time at home and invest in creating comfortable, ‘hygge’-inspired interiors that are synonymous with our Danish heritage.”

JYSK operates more than 2900 stores in 51 countries, and has announced record global turnover this year of €4.1b.

JYSK's CEO and president, Jan Bøgh, says: “I believe it is fair to say that we have really seen the strength of our business model in the last financial year. Not only in terms of utilising our strong local organisations – it also concerns our ability to control flow of goods under very unpredictable circumstances and to convert customers and employees to click and collect and to our online sales channels to keep up sales, even while most of our stores were closed.

Worldwide, JYSK expects to open more than 150 stores during the current financial year, making up for lost ground over the past 12 months.

“It was simply not possible to carry out all of our planned store activities, which has a positive economic effect on the last financial year, because we saved money," says Jan. "But it also means that we did not invest as much in our physical stores as planned. This makes it even more important to ensure that we invest as much as possible during the current financial year."

Jan also notes that the retailer took some important steps towards sustainability during the financial year, including more sustainable packaging design, setting a date to transition to 100% FSC-certified wood, introducing a number of additional products made from recycled materials, and becoming a member of BCI (Better Cotton Initiative).