Swedish furniture giant Ikea said today it had dropped its target of doubling sales between the 2012-2013 fiscal year and 2020. 

"Our goal has so far proved to be too aggressive," Goeran Grosskopf, chairman of the Ingka Holding parent company that comprises all of the Ikea businesses, told a Swedish financial newspaper.

"Sales haven't developed as fast as we thought," he added.

Ikea posted sales of €27.9 billion in the fiscal year to the end of August, only 3.1% more than a year earlier. During 2011-2012, growth reached 9.8%, the highest for six years.

The company blamed the slowdown on the global economic context. "The main reason is that the world economy hasn't evolved as strongly as we expected," Grosskopf said. 

"Especially the development in southern Europe is very far from what we thought," he said.

Last year, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, known for his reluctance to talk to the media, criticised the company's project to open 25 stores a year as being too ambitious. Kamprad, aged 87 and suffering from health problems, is still listened to in Ikea, even though he has left his various functions within the company.

Last June, he announced he intended to leave Switzerland to re-settle in Sweden by the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014, still a pending plan in early January.

Grosskopf denied that Kamprad's move had been delayed due to the tax shock that could await him in his homeland according to some local media reports.

Founded in 1943, Ikea owns 303 stores in 26 countries and employs 139,000 people.