Bill Agee: The recession has definitely pushed us to be more aggressive in terms of ourpresence on the web. It’s pushed innovation in terms of how we drive traffic to our stores. So, it has been in many ways a good challenge for us.The current economy also allows us to try things that may have been sacred cows in the past. It really demands that we try different approaches.This is a great time to be more innovative, and to call out the things that really aren’t working.
HUB: Has the recession changed the way youmerchandise the stores?
Bill Agee: It has brought us back to basics. It has reminded us that pocketbooks are thin, which has always been a primary tenetof IKEA. It has reminded us that we need to be active merchants in our stores and that we need to be actively selling and presenting our products.This fiscal year, which began in September, we’ve been doing an activity that’s called “Seize the Day,” where we’ve taken some of our best-sellingitems and offered them at unbelievably low prices on a limited time basis, which is typically not been part of our strategy.
What we’re doing isreally just good, old-fashioned retailing, where we’re getting an unbelievable number of people responding to amazing offers. We’re selling as muchas three years’ worth of merchandise in one day in some cases.
We’re looking forward to more great deals in 2009, IKEA! Keep ‘em coming!