To be affordable, accessible and sustainable in a changing retail industry, we need to make bigger, bolder decisions. Our core values, beliefs and principles will stay the same, but the way we do business is evolving.
We are on a mission to create a better everyday life for the many people – with thin wallets, big dreams and big needs for their lives at home. Central to this is to provide beautiful and functional home furnishings that are affordable, accessible and more sustainable. To reach today’s connected consumers, we’re transforming our business. And we’re developing capabilities to meet changing expectations in a digital world.
Ingka is a truly purpose-driven company. This is what I learned during my time as CEO of IKEA Retail in India. It taught me why we need to do things, not just what we need to do. For example, by not compromising affordability, by being inclusive rather than targeting the few, by promoting diversity rather than accepting the status quo and by connecting with communities and creating positive impact on the people and the planet.
For us to be truly affordable for the many, we need to challenge our business model and how we choose to lead. By taking a deep interest in people’s lives at home coupled with strong determination and competent co-workers, we were able to offer up to 1,000 products below INR 200 in India. If we can be successful there, we can be successful anywhere.
Our commitment to becoming people and planet positive is more relevant than ever before. We want to enable millions of people to live more sustainable and healthier lives. By transforming our own operations we will use resources with the utmost efficiency, enabling customers to care for and pass on IKEA products in more circular ways. We will play our part in creating a better life for the people and communities touched by our business. This is the role we want to play in society and it makes our business stronger.
We want to strengthen our position for the future, building on our 75 years of IKEA experience and knowledge in life at home. During the year, we’ve increased our efforts and investments to start transforming our business. While this has had an impact and lowered our results, it’s been a conscious decision for us to start this three-year process to be better equipped for the future. Together with our shopping centres business, Ingka Centres, we are creating new meeting places and exploring new formats in cities. Now more than ever, is the time to be bold, to embrace all the opportunities together with our co-workers and to realise the IKEA vision by creating a new world of Ingka.
We take a long-term financial perspective, and we’re now investing like never before. We’re optimistic about the future and the role we can play through Ingka Investments. Our financial strength enables us to invest in our future purposefully, over the long term.
Transparency and accountability have never been so important, especially for the big decisions we’re taking right now. We’re all trusted to do the things we believe will be best for the future of Ingka Group, and we need to put compliance and good governance at the forefront of the choices we make.
The role of the CFO has changed. When people ask what my job is, I say it’s everything, almost. I have to be everywhere, both upstream and downstream – contributing to strategy for the long term and anticipating the demands we will face in the future, as well as in the traditional CFO role in enabling us to learn from our results. This means listening and being humble enough to understand the complexity, but strong enough to take the responsibility to lead.
We’re against the norm, and we want to keep standing out. We’ll build on our unique offer, by continually learning about life at home and putting people at the centre of our business. We do this through the home visits we do and our own research into how everyday living is changing. We are taking the insights we gain from our Life At Home report, Climate Action Starts At Home report and understanding more about the importance of play in all our lives into the physical experience of our IKEA stores and in our digital space too.
We all want to make a difference. That’s what I’m most proud of – the way we take decisions based on what we believe in and not only on what the excel sheets show us. The three things I enjoy most about working in our company are our vision, the many incredible colleagues working together and the many opportunities we have to make a difference.
Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer, Ingka Group