IKEA’s position in the market as the “wacky Swede” – an industry outsider serving up flatpacks and meatballs – used to serve it well.

But in the UK, that image was starting to stagnate, losing relevance to consumers and costing IKEA in sales.

Kieran Bradshaw, Strategy Director at Mother, told the Lessons from the WARC Rankings 2019 event (London, May 2019) how sales were down 20% in the two years to 2013, and people were visiting less frequently.

At the same time, other furniture retailers such as John Lewis were improving their ranges and openly gunning for IKEA’s customers. To add even more pressure to the UK business, IKEA’s headquarters had set a growth target of £2 billion by 2020, which required growth of 8% every year before then.

“We were scared,” Bradshaw said. “It was clear we needed to do something.” But the challenge was to do something monumental – with no extra money, no change to the range or to pricing, and with no new stores for two years.