Ikea global president and chief executive Anders Dahlvig has described the UK furniture market as “the worst he’s ever seen it” and believes there is no other furniture market in the world suffering more.

Dahlvig, who operates the largest furniture retailer in the world by sales, said the UK is struggling more than any of its other territories in terms of sales. “It is one of the tougher markets for us. Sales are declining,” he said.

Dahlvig, who is stepping down in September, described MFI’s failure as the biggest collapse in furniture retail anywhere in the world. Other territories in which Ikea operates have, so far, seen less high-profile collapses, he said.

 “The longer this recession goes on, the more collapses we will see, mainly independents but also bigger retailers too,” he said.

“In the long term I’m not worried for Ikea. We’ve had a strong position in the UK and we’ll have it again.”

Dahlvig remained gloomy on the global outlook. “This recession will go on for three years,” he said. “It will get worse for a while before it stabilises at a low level. We should plan for worse to come.”

In the year to August 31, 2007, profits at Ikea in the UK fell from £90m to £77.4m, on sales of £1.3bn.