IKEA Plans to Invest over EUR 200 Million in Serbia
The Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, plans to invest in neighboring Serbia over EUR 200 million over the next five years, according to a news release by Western Labor Minister Zoran Djordjevic.
The company has already invested EUR 60 million in the country and hired 330 employees for its Belgrade site, which started work about a month ago.
IKEA plans to build two more sites in the country, the Serbian government said in a press release.
In five years, the number of IKEA officials in Serbia is expected to reach 1 200, says Djordjevic, who has visited the chain store in Belgrade.
Also in May, IKEA Development Director for Southeast Europe, Vladislav Lalic, said the company wanted to buy a plot on the left bank of the Sava River in the northeastern part of the Serbian capital.
The long-term plans of the company include the opening of a store in Nis. However, according to Lalic, this depends on the development of the Serbian market and general economic trends.
In the Southeast Europe region, IKEA has locations in Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, the newspaper adds.
The Swedish chain has a long history with Serbia. In 1991, they opened a small outfit in the country, but it closed a year later due to the collapse of Yugoslavia.
The return of IKEA is a symbol of the country's slow transition after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. In 2008, the company attempted to re-enter the country during a pro-European leader Boris Tadic. However, they failed because of corruption and bureaucracy.
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