Swedish furniture giant IKEA said Thursday that it will open its third outlet in South Korea next week as it strives to strengthen its presence in Asia's fourth-largest economy.
IKEA Korea said the 49,800-square-meter store set to open in Giheung on Dec. 12 will enhance accessibility to residents in the nearby area with new services such as home furnishing consultants and a seamless shopping experience offline and online.
IKEA Giheung Market Manager Anje Heim said she is excited to "offer better accessibility to the many people in the southern Seoul metropolitan area." Giheung is located about 40 kilometers south of Seoul.
The new flagship outlet is comprised of two underground floors and a third floor above ground, including parking space. The new store will open every day from 10 am to 10 pm, same as the IKEA stores in Gwangmyeong and Goyang.
IKEA Korea said the new outlet will offer locally relevant home furnishing solutions to address needs based on hundreds of home visits and research conducted before the opening.
Heim said the new outlet will offer efficient storage solutions based on the finding that many residents in the area, mostly young parents with small children, experience challenges with storing and finding their belongings.
For the first time in the world, the Giheung outlet is also equipped with home furnishing consultants at the store, who provide home furnishing ideas and tips to customers.
Fredrik Johansson, CEO of IKEA Korea, said the company will continue to widen its customer touch points under the company's vision "to create a better everyday life for many people."
He said IKEA Korea has been making efforts to widen services both online and offline.
Customers will be able to purchase an item online and pick it up at the Giheung outlet, officials said. Part of the store will be entirely a pick-up zone for online customers.
The Giheung outlet has already hired nearly 500 employees, with 62 percent of them from the region, IKEA Korea said. The average age of its employees is 38 years old, and 65 percent of them are female.
IKEA is set to open its fourth store in the southeastern port city of Busan on Feb. 13.
IKEA Korea said it also plans to build smaller stores in downtown Seoul during the first half of next year to improve accessibility for city dwellers.
Johansson cited the examples of new unit stores, such as IKEA Paris and IKEA London, where customers can experience new home furnishing styles and order online later.
IKEA tapped South Korea with its first store in Gwangmyeong, just southwest of Seoul, in 2014, followed by the launch of its second store in Goyang, northwest of the capital, in October 2017.
IKEA Group is a parent company of IKEA Korea. It operates 374 outlets in 30 countries. (Yonhap)