Furniture chain Habitat is to begin selling fitted kitchens as it seeks to cash in on the surge in sales in the big-ticket category.

Habitat has traditionally focused on furniture such as sofas and beds, as well as homewares and lighting. But it is to begin offering fitted kitchens in five stores from Boxing Day, in Cambridge, Oxford and Lakeside Thurrock, as well as the King’s Road and Tottenham Court Road stores in London.

Retailers including Ikea, B&Q and Wickes have revealed strong sales in fitted kitchens during the downturn, with the latter launching a standalone Wickes Kitchens & Bathrooms fascia in April, as revealed by Retail Week (April 1).

Experts say the increase in kitchen sales is linked to the ‘Don’t move, improve’ ethos that has gripped Brits in the recession.

Customers can create their own “dream kitchens” from more than 100 door designs, 16 colours and a range of worktops. The Hilco-owned retailer will help customers design the kitchens and will also install them. The 37-store retailer plans to roll out the kitchens to more stores.

The retailer has also relaunched its website last month, across all its territories, including Germany where it has launched a transactional website for the first time.

The spokeswoman said that the global site offers “increased functionality”, so customers can now browse by price, range, colour, material or finish, room or department.

They can also view new video content, use Habitat’s Google map feature to locate their nearest store and recommend products to a friend with its Facebook feature.