SEOUL, June 22 (Korea Bizwire) – It’s been a good year for IKEA Korea as the Swedish furniture giant is set to top its sales from last fiscal year.
IKEA, since the opening of its Gwangmyeong store in December 2014, has reshaped the landscape of the country’s furniture industry, with the Gwangmyeong branch becoming the company’s worldwide sales leader within a year of its opening.
Speaking to the press last Wednesday, IKEA Korea CEO André Schmidtgall said he was ‘very happy’ with the company’s performance in the fiscal year which began last September and will end in August, with annual sales forecast to surpass last year’s 345 billion won.
While Schmidtgall refused to divulge exact numerical figures, he was confident that IKEA’s sales during the latest fiscal year outperformed those from last year.
As of now, IKEA has over a thousand employees in South Korea, with plans to open a second store in in Goyang City in October.
As the international giant plans to expand its presence in South Korea to a total of six stores by 2020, and is expected to develop an e-commerce platform to introduce online shopping, the number of employees is expected to grow, creating over 2,800 new jobs.
“Cities like Daejeon, Busan, and Seoul where we can reach as many customers as possible will be where the new stores will open,” Schmidtgall said.
Curently, IKEA Korea has signed a memorandum of understanding with government officials from Busan Metropolitan City, Giheung District in Yongin and Gangdong District in Seoul with plans to purchase land for newly proposed stores.
Schmidtgall also emphasized that even though IKEA has made social contributions in South Korea, including building a local health center, he believes creating jobs is the best form of social contribution.
“We treat our employees as assets, and recognize their potential and value rather than their education level or experience,” Schmidtgall said.
In response to the criticism that IKEA is dominating the industry at the expense of small business owners, Schmidtgall addressed the issue by saying, “IKEA sparked public interest in home furnishing, and revitalized local businesses as a result.”