Ikea wants third store to be in Seoul

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Ikea wants third store to be in Seoul

A third branch of Sweden’s famous Ikea furniture store could be set up in southeastern Seoul as early as 2017.

Ikea’s first two Korean stores are scheduled to open in Gyeonggi in the second half of this year and in two to three years. According to the Gangdong District government yesterday, Ikea has expressed its intention to buy 13,000 square meters (3.21 acres) of land in Godeuk commercial zone, southeastern Seoul.

The local government is still negotiating with the Swedish company. Even if the local government inks an agreement with Ikea in the first half of this year, final approval from the Seoul City government is required.

Ikea announced it would enter the Korean market in late 2011.

After a six-month negotiation with the local government of Gwangmyeong in western Gyeonggi, south of the Han River, the Swedish company received approval to open its first branch in August. The first store is scheduled to open in the second half of the year on a 78,000-square-meter plot of land next to the Gwangmyeong KTX station.

Four months after that approval, Ikea Korea announced late last month that it had bought a 51,200-square-meter plot of land in Goyang, Gyeonggi, northwest of the Han River, for its second branch.

This was an unusual move because Ikea usually decides on a second branch in a country after monitoring its first branch for two or three years.

While the first two branches are expected to attract customers in the western part of greater Seoul, the third branch, although smaller in size, is expected to attract customers in the eastern Seoul area, including Bundang.

Local governments such as Gangdong expect Ikea to boost their regional economies.

However, approval from the Seoul government is uncertain because it always worries that retail giants like Ikea could have a negative impact on smaller merchants and furniture businesses.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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