Ikea may open first Ukraine store in 2011
Ikea, the world’s largest home- furnishings retailer, may open its first outlet in Ukraine at the end of 2011, the company said, according to Bloomberg.
The first store is likely to be in Odessa on the Black Sea coast, where Ikea owns land, said Frida Malmquist, country manager for Ukraine. The retailer, which opened an office in the country in 2005, sees potential for 25 stores, she said.
It’s a “huge” and “underdeveloped” market, Malmquist said by phone today. “We have an internal timeline that says that we could theoretically open” the first store “at the end of 2011,” she said.
Ukraine, a country of 46 million, is facing a recession after nine years of growth. The global financial crisis forced the country, like Hungary, Romania and Latvia, to turn to the International Monetary Fund for help to avert a default and stabilize its banking system.
While Ikea isn’t halting plans in the country, the company isn’t in a “big rush,” Malmquist said.
“We could have 25 stores depending on the development of the Ukraine and its middle class, which is a big part of our customers,” she said. “It’s tricky to say when the Ukrainian market is ready for the size of retailing that we are coming with.”