You don’t need me to remind you that it’s not an easy time out there at the moment – particularly in furniture. The sector is going through a period of consolidation, but Ikea will be there at the end and our offer of good design combined with low prices is more relevant than ever.

Our job now is to push home that message. The upcoming August launch of our new catalogue should be the perfect time to do that. We start preparing for it seven or eight weeks in advance and it’s an incredibly busy time. A lot of work goes into making sure what’s in the catalogue is reflected by what customers see in-store.

We are also beginning to see the fruits of our labour after remodelling our kitchens department. To prepare, we researched the competition and looked at examples from Ikea in other countries. As a result, we increased the space for kitchens by 30 per cent, installed eight roomsets, created a dedicated kitchen appliance zone and put our best co-workers into kitchens.

We effectively built the kitchens area up from scratch again. It’s not a sales stream you can switch on immediately but after a couple of months, even in a market where people don’t have the confidence for big purchases, we are now selling more kitchens than ever. We are not offering discounts and buying business – it’s all just good word of mouth.

Despite the overall climate, going into our busiest time of the year in September/October, there seems to be much to be positive about.

Mike King, Ikea, Manchester