Furniture giant Ikea UK & Ireland experienced a 1% rise in like-for-likes in the year to August 31 as the retailer grew its share in a difficult big ticket market.

Total sales also edged up 1% to £1.2bn, and the retailer said it was able to grow sales in a challenging market by lowering prices and improving service levels.

Kitchens experienced the biggest growth, with like-for-likes rising 11%. Storage also increased 11% while children’s increased 4%.

Ikea said it benefited in the period from its £11m investment in improving shopping experience, including self scanning check outs.

Ikea said it has the largest share of the UK home furnishings market, increasing to 6% in the period.

However, Ikea UK’s performance lags behind that of the group. Last month Ikea Group broke with tradition and revealed its financial results, which showed a 7.7% rise in total sales in 2010.

Martin Hansson, Ikea UK & Ireland’s country manager, said: “It has been another challenging year for us but despite the overall home furnishings market being in decline, we have delivered a small growth.

“By focusing on two key areas - affordability and improved service levels - I am convinced we will continue to see stable, if not increased visitation to our IKEA stores over the coming period.

“I believe we will achieve growth by continuing to lower our prices. Compared to this time last year, our prices are already 5% lower across our entire home furnishings range.

“By staying close to our customers we have understood they are more conscious of price but do not want to compromise on quality, design or good service.”

Hansson said Ikea had in recent months launched a “full service package” for its kitchens, meaning it can now plan, install and deliver customers’ kitchens.

Hansson added: “In the first half of 2011 it is our intention to launch a new and improved home delivery service. As part of this customers will be able to select from a wider choice of products online.”

Ikea plans to widen its current 3,700 items sold online by another 500, at least.

It also said it will introduce a lower home delivery charge.

IKEA Group operates 280 IKEA stores in 26 countries. It also operates 34 IKEA franchised stores 16 territories.