LONDON — Ikea is searching for corporate PR support in the UK, as it steps up ambitious expansion plans across the country.

The company is working with AAR to select an agency to handle the brief. An Ikea spokeseprson confirmed that the search does not affect Hope&Glory's role as Ikea's consumer PR agency.

A source familiar with the process noted that Ikea "has a genuine need to do a better job of telling its corporate story," particularly as it relates to community concerns over the opening of new stores.

Ikea's UK sales increased by 11.3% to £1.57bn last year, its fourth consecutive year of growth. The company's market share also improved to 7.7%, which it intends to double by 2020.

Ikea currently operates 18 large stores in the UK, but is also planning smaller high street stores to attract more customers. In addition to ‘bricks and mortar’ expansion plans, Ikea UK will also launch a new website as part of its multi-channel ecommerce efforts.