Ikea plans to open 5 stores over 6 years

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Ikea plans to open 5 stores over 6 years

Ikea, the Swedish home furnishing company, plans to open five stores in Korea by 2020 including its very first, which is slated to open in December in Gwangmyeong, western Gyeonggi.

“[The opening of our first store] is only the start,” said Patrick Schurpf, country project manager of Ikea Korea. “It’s our aim that we will be able to be very conveniently accessible for the majority of people in Korea. We envision five stores to be opened by 2020.”

Schurpf’s comments were made yesterday at a pre-opening event of its second so-called story room - similar to a pop-up store but with items that aren’t for sale - in Times Square Mall in Yeongdeungpo, western Seoul.

The story room, called “Hej Home! myhome” will be open to the public starting tomorrow until Aug. 22 and visitors can see some of the home furnishings offered by Ikea for living rooms, bedrooms, laundry rooms, offices, kitchens and gardens. They will also be able to sign up to become Ikea loyalty card members.

“We want to make sure that we can actually come through with this plan,” Schurpf said. “That’s our aim and vision we have.”

The exact date of the Gwangmyeong store’s opening, however, hasn’t been announced.

“Normally, we don’t really announce the opening date until a little bit later,” Schurpf said. “There’s a lot of preparations for us. We have to import a lot of products and we want to make sure we do it right.

“I think we will soon be able to tell you more details about the opening date. We want the [store] to be authentic as possible and for customers to get a full experience.”

The construction of the first store on a 78,000-square-meter (19-acre) plot is ongoing, according to Cecilia Johansson, the store manager.

There are five levels including three for parking and two for stores and offices. There will be about 10,000 articles under one roof as well as a day care facility for families with children. There will also be 60 different room settings where customers will be able to see and experience Ikea products.

Schurpf explained that the Gwangmyeong store will be housed in an environmentally friendly building, partly using solar energy, light-emitting diode lighting and nontoxic paint. A total of 6 billion won ($5.8 million) has been invested in the sustainable building. He also said there are many windows in the store to bring in natural sunlight.

The Swedish company has also bought 51,200 square meters of land in Goyang, Gyeonggi, which will probably be the site of its second store.

There are other sites being mentioned by industry sources - one in Gangdong District, southeastern Seoul, and also in regional areas like Busan.

The five stores opening in Korea will be added to the 345 stores Ikea was operating in 42 countries as of last year.

“For us, to reach more people, we get into new territories and introduce our business ideas,” said Andre Schmidtgall, country retail manager of Ikea Korea.

Meanwhile, Ikea Korea yesterday disclosed the prices of some 30 products including a stool (5,000 won), a storage closet (50,000 won) and a rug (49,000 won), which will all be displayed at the story room in Yeongdeungpo, western Seoul.

More prices will be unveiled in the three-month duration of the event.

The company also introduced some marketing events including its Ikea Family membership program.

Visitors that sign up for membership will receive the first Korean version of an Ikea catalogue, which will be distributed at the time of the store opening, and also get to attend an Ikea family day before the store opens. They will be offered other benefits like free coffee and discounts on more than 200 products after the store opens.

“This is a membership for our future fans,” said Ulf Smedberg, country marketing manager.

The opening of Ikea’s second story room - after its first in March at a gallery in Garosugil, southern Seoul - is part of the company’s efforts to make the brand better known.

The story room will be open Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

BY lee eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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