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news 23 Mar 12

Ikea to Open First Store in Belgrade

The Swedish home-furnishings giant will open up in Belgrade by the end of 2013 following a deal with the Serbian government.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

Ikea chair Mikael Ohlsson said he hoped that all the administrative procedures will be completed by summer so that construction of the first IKEA store in Belgrade can begin in autumn.

Ohlsson said the company will invest around 250 million euro in five department stores to be built in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and at a town in central Serbia.

This statement came after a meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic on March 15 at which Ohlsson presented the company's investment plans in Serbia and its commitment to develop business in the Serbian market.

"Ikea is coming to Serbia, and that is good news," Tadic said after the meeting.

H&M arrives in Belgrade

Swedish fashion chain H & M will open its first store in the country in autumn. The store will be located in Delta city shopping mall, Jasenka Stekic, from Serbian "Fashion company" has confirmed. The brand is known for marketing high fashion at low prices.

Milena Vujicic, spokesperson for Ikea in Serbia, has said the five department stores will create 2,000 new jobs.

"In addition they will indirectly create a large number of other jobs through our sub-contractors during the construction process of the department stores and then for maintaining them," Vujicic explained.

Ikea has been trying to open up in Serbia for some years but the Swedish giant and the government could not agree on land price and locations. Ikea initially planned to start building an outlet in Serbia by 2012 in exchange for the provision of cheap land.

The company then allegedly sought to scrap the entire plan. The Serbian government subsequently withdrew the land offer, while assuring Ikea that the company was welcome in Serbia.

The new Belgrade store will mark the return of the Swedish company to the city. A smaller Ikea store in Belgrade closed in 1991 as Yugoslavia disintegrated into bloodshed.

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