(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP
Stockholm: Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced plans Thursday to spend more than two billion euros ($2.2 billion) to expand in the United States, its biggest investment in almost four decades in the country.
The Ingka holding company, which controls the majority of Ikea's stores and accounts for more than 90 percent of its total sales, plans to open eight new stores in the United States.
It will also add nine "plan and order points" -- smaller stores where customers can get furnishing advice for kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms.
The three-year expansion will add more than 2,000 jobs in the United States.
"It's the biggest investment we have ever done in one single country," Tolga Oncu, head of Ikea Retail at the Ingka Group, told AFP, adding they see "endless opportunities" in the United States.
The Netherlands-based holding company said stores are scheduled to open this summer in San Francisco and Arlington, Virginia.
The investment targets the entire country, but will focus on the south.
The furniture behemoth has accelerated its global expansion in recent years, bringing the number of shops worldwide last year to 474.
Despite retailers moving more and more online, Ikea remains committed to its store model.
"The Ikea store has been, is, and will continue to be the most important part of Ikea," Oncu said.
The company is also continuing to expand in Europe, where it is investing 150 million euros in Spain, planning to open new shops by 2025.
At the same time, Ikea took a big hit as a result of suspending operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, resulting in the closure of 17 stores and shutting down of several production sites, leading to thousands of job losses.
As a result Ingka, and the other main holding company of the multinational, Inter Ikea, saw diminished profits last year.
But 2023 has started well, according to Oncu.
"We don't have any releases on numbers today, but talking about trends, I would say we are pacing above our expectation for this fiscal year in all parts of the world," he said, adding that Europe especially was "trending very strong."