Global furniture giant IKEA is finally coming to South Korea.
On Wednesday, the Swedish company will open a showroom, “Hej HOME!,” which will run until the end of this month in a posh neighborhood in southern Seoul as part of its preparation for the opening of its first store in Korea later this year.
Known for its blue-and-yellow superstores and build-it-yourself products, IKEA said onits Korean homepage last week that the 230-square-meter showroom is designed to “provide a chance (for Korean consumers) to experience IKEA concepts and brand story in a comfortable home-like environment.”
Founded in 1943, the home furniture company has grown into a global giant with more than 345 shops in 42 countries. It opened its first store in China in 1998 and in Japan in 2006. Korean consumers have been buying IKEA products mostly online or via small retailers who import IKEA products.
One Twitter user @TwitChinie wrote “As soon as IKEA enters Korea, people will go crazy, like when Apple’s iPhone was first introduced.”
Not surprisingly, IKEA’s imminent arrival has set off an alarm for local furniture companies.
Hanssem, the biggest Korean furniture company, opened a 5,690-square meter 6-story flagship store just last weekend in Mokdong, western Seoul, adding to 5 mega showrooms nationwide.
“We plan to increase the number of flagship stores by 20 in the near future,” Hanssem Chairman Choi Yang-ha told reporters during the last week’s opening event, “We will try to differentiate ourselves by targeting the premium market in the face of the arrival of global furniture giant IKEA.”
IKEA’s first Korean store is 25,759-square-meters in size and currently under construction in Gwangmyeong, a Seoul suburb. The location is accessible via train and three inter-city express highways. The mall includes a restaurant and family entertainment facilities, according to IKEA’s website.
Source: Korea News