Furniture and homewares retailer Ikea said investments in making the brand more accessible to UK consumers – as well as a more concerted focus on the customer experience (CX) – helped drive sales for the sixth year in a row.

Sales of £1.81 billion represented a rise of 5.8% on last year, while sales over the last six years have jumped by 57%.

This year’s increase, covering the 12 months to 31 August 2017, was attributed to the business’s focus on changing its model to better serve UK shoppers. The strategy included opening new stores in Reading and Sheffield to expand its reach, as well as the launch of click & collect services in its order collection points across the country.

Ikea UK also unveiled a new website, with online sales growing by 10% year on year over the period to account for 15% of overall revenue.

Ikea UK country retail manager, Gillian Drakeford, detailed plans to improve Ikea’s accessibility two years ago, when she told delegates at a British Retail Consortium event that the company would be opening multiple order and collection point stores. The format is smaller than a typical Ikea store, and she said it was part of a switch of strategy to meet shopper demands, rather than dictate the shopping process to them.

Stores of this nature are now in operation in locations such as Norwich, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Westfield Statford, providing shoppers with stores to gain inspiration and to collect orders made on the web.

“As we celebrate our 30th anniversary this year, we remain committed to the UK and are proud to have achieved another successful year of growth,” Drakeford commented.

“This is testament to the talent of our co-workers and our ambition to inspire customers with the best possible experience.”

New Ikea stores are planned for Exeter and Greenwich in the current financial year, while the retailer recently acquired Task Rabbit, an online platform matching freelance ‘handy’ men and women with local demand. Ikea sees Task Rabbit as a natural brand fit with its core furniture and homewares business.

In total, 57.2 million people visited Ikea stores during the course of the year.

Drakeford added: “We have ambitious expansion plans for the UK and are committed to making Ikea more accessible to the many people. As well as opening new stores, we are also enhancing existing stores.”