Ikea on expansion spree across nation

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-26 10:13
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BEIJING - Home furnishing giant Ikea, which is speeding up its expansion in China, plans to open four new stores across the country over the next two years.

Ikea on expansion spree across nation

An Ikea employee promotes the company’s products at its store in Beijing. [Photo/China Daily] 

The Swedish company will open its second store in Shanghai next year and welcome customers to stores in Tianjin, Wuxi, and its second store in Beijing in 2012, according to Gillian Drakeford, Ikea China's retail president.

Having opened its biggest store in Asia in Shenyang in May, Ikea now has eight stores in eight cities across China, and has been operating in the country for 12 years.

The retailer will remain on an expansion spree in China for the foreseeable future, with plans to open one or two new stores annually.

Its new store in Wuxi and a second store in Beijing will be located in shopping centers owned by Ikea's partner company Inter Ikea Center Group.

Drakeford confirmed that Ikea will also open a store in Wuhan in an Inter Ikea shopping center.

"Cooperation with Inter Ikea's shopping centers will be a business model for Ikea's future development in China," she said.

Drakeford said that Ikea will report "fantastic" sales revenue of over 3.7 billion yuan ($544 million) in China for the 2009-10 fiscal year ending on Aug 31, up 23 percent year-on-year.

"But what makes us more excited is that we have six stores listed in Ikea's Top 20 fastest growing stores worldwide.

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"Our new stores in Chengdu and Shenzhen won first and second place among Ikea's more than 300 stores around the world, with revenue jumping 135 percent and 126 percent respectively," said Drakeford.

"That indicates the huge potential in China's tier-two cities and provides us confidence to go further to tier-three cities," Drakeford added.

Ikea's more than decade-old Beijing and Shanghai stores also reported sales more than doubled in the past fiscal year.

In the coming fiscal year, Ikea will continue to attach great importance to providing new and more affordable products to Chinese consumers, said Drakeford.

"We are launching more than 500 new products and providing over 500 products with lower prices in China," she said.