Govt Ecstatic about 1st IKEA Store in BulgariaBusiness | June 3, 2010, Thursday // 14:12| views
“The foundations of the first IKEA store in Bulgaria have been set by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Boyko Borisov, on June 3, 2010," reads the plaque that PM Borisov installed himself during the ground-breaking ceremony. Photo BGNES
Senior epresentatives of the Bulgarian government were jubilant during the ground-breaking ceremony of the first IKEA store in the country.
“We all know that when IKEA comes this means good investment climate, and a stable state,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said at during the ceremony.
Borisov gave the start of the construction of the IKEA store together with Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and the Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev.
According to the Prime Minister, the operation of the IKEA store will help Bulgarian wood processing plants as timber will not have to be exported in such mass quantities as it is at present.
Both Sofia Mayor Fandakov and Regional Development Minister Plevneliev declared that IKEA’s arrival in Bulgaria is good news not just for Sofia but also for the entire country, also noting that the future store in the capital might attract clients from neighboring states.
“IKEA changes entire cities. This store is evidence that international investors see Bulgaria as a platform for the development of their business strategy,” Plevneliev commented while admitting that the future IKEA store will likely cause further traffic jams on the already congested Sofia Beltway.
“The opening of the IKEA store will jam the entire city but I wish for this opening nonetheless,” the Minister said. Plevneliev was the first to raise alarm in the fall of 2009 that the expansion of the Sofia Beltway is falling behind, and might not be ready by the time the IKEA store is opened. He has claimed to have taken measures to speed up the road rehabilitation and construction.
According to estimates of the Fourlis Group, IKEA’s first store in Bulgaria will attract 1.6 million clients in the first year after its opening.
The Greek company Fourlis is IKEA’s franchise holder for Greece, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. It plans to invest EUR 50 M in the construction of store, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2011. It will employ about 350 people.
The Greek company has also made it clear it would consider the opening of another IKEA store in Varna, and potentially even a third store in the Plovdiv-Stara Zagora region in Southern Bulgaria.
The IKEA store in Sofia with a total area of about 30 000 square meters will be located at 216 Beltway road; it will feature a parking lot with 1 200 spaces as well as a restaurant with 600 seats.
“We know that when IKEA enters a new market, the home furniture market starts growing. There is increased interest in these products leading to the development of the entire industry. These are our expectations for Bulgaria,” said Vassilis Fourlis, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Fourlis Group in a statement the day before the opening.
An interview of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) with Fourlis Group Manager George Alevizos about IKEA’s entering of the Bulgarian market READ HERE
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