It was a first for the Swedish furniture giant: at the beginning of September, Ikea opened Germany's smallest branch, a planning studio in Berlin Pankow.

Customers can now plan their kitchens here or get advice on installing bedroom cupboards.

For comparison: classic Ikea furniture stores are often more than 30,000 square meters in size.

The store in Pankow, on the other hand, only has 450 square meters of floor space.

Several such small-space locations are now to follow, says Ikea.

And it's not just the Swedes who want to expand.

This article comes from the "WirtschaftsWoche".

Other furniture retailers are also systematically expanding their branch network despite Corona and increasing their pace of growth.

Because although furniture stores remained closed for weeks in the lockdown phase and sales in the stores collapsed, parts of the industry have now been able to compensate for the failures.

In the long term, the pandemic could even generate additional business.

The best example: the Danish bed warehouse belonging to the Jysk Group.

"After the closings in spring, we felt a clear catching-up effect in May and June," says Germany boss Christian Schirmer.

The consequence: "We want to further expand our branch network in Germany", announced Schirmer.

Around 20 new locations could be added each year, and there is potential for 1,150 branches in the medium term.

At the same time, the existing 970 branches are to be modernized.

"The sales area there should increase from 800 to 950 square meters, if possible, in order to be able to show our customers more products," said Schirmer.

Because "in the end, customers continue to buy furniture that they can see live."

The fact that furniture retailers are currently suffering less than other retail segments is also due to changed consumer habits during the crisis.

The topic of 'cocooning' is making itself felt, says Schirmer.

"Many of our customers are now making themselves nice at home", this includes "buying garden furniture or a new mattress."

A study by the management consultancy Accenture comes to similar conclusions.

According to this, the persistent discomfort with public spaces and travel, as well as financial fears, mean that many people continue to predominantly stay at home.

Covid-19 heralds a "decade of the home".

And there, confirms Hornbach boss Erich Harsch, many people want to "make themselves beautiful, especially in times of crisis".

They have spent more time at home through home office and short-time work and also used this to tackle repairs or home improvement projects in the home and garden, from which the hardware store chain has benefited greatly in recent months.

Household budgets were also reallocated.

Because many vacation trips were canceled, some of the money saved was invested in domestic castles and sofa areas.

The reduction in value added tax and the "Corona child benefit" are also likely to spur the purchase of furniture and co.

Above all, however, the crisis has so far left only manageable marks on the labor market, which is why many consumers' willingness to spend has hardly suffered.

As long as it stays that way, furniture and furnishings retailers, kitchen manufacturers and home improvement stores will probably continue to be among the more robust companies in retail.

The situation is different in furniture wholesaling, where companies are likely to hold back with orders given the uncertain economic situation.

In addition: "Furniture in the business customer environment in Germany is still mainly sold through stationary areas," says Pierre Haarfeld, who has set out to change that with Nuucon, a furnishing platform for interior design projects.

"With the temporary closure of the area, the retailers have lost all sales," said Haarfeld.

Business customers were looking for new shopping channels in the lockdown, but would only have found a manageable offer.

In fact, the B2B business could even suffer from the cocooning trend.

After all, those who spend most of their time at home don't need a stylish office.