New IKEA store in KL opened

The planned opening 14 August of IKEA’s new, 35,881 square metres, store in Kuala Lumpur’s Mutiara Damansara went smooth.
     “The very first visitor arrived at 4 am and the crowd built up for the early bird event,” says Ms Asa Hjort, responsible for the new IKEA store. “The first 1000 visitors were given Viking hats with scratch and win contest, free breakfasts and a chance to win a dining room worth RM 3000.”
     The day began with a Swedish breakfast for the invited guests followed by the traditional log sawing opening ceremony officiated by IKEA chairman Hans Goran Stennert, Swedish Ambassador Bruno S Beijer and Malaysia Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.
     By that time a crowd of 4000 people was waiting in anticipation to enter the new store.
     IKEA’s new facility is four times bigger than the previous outgrown one in Klang Valley and Sweden’s furnishing giant may also open stores elsewhere in Malaysia.
     Penang, Johor and Malacca may be chosen in the next five to 10 years if demand exists, said Hans Goran Stennert, who presided over the opening.
     “Kuala Lumpur is several times bigger than other cities in Malaysia. We have to think about how to satisfy customer needs in Malacca, Johor Baru and Penang. Sooner or later we hope to have outlets in these states,” said Stennert in interview with Business Times.
     He added KL is big enough to get a second store.
     During the first four opening days, IKEA had lots of special activities – music, games, food tasting and so on – for its customers. The meat ball contest winner managed to gulp down 24 meatballs in three minutes, and an amazing 17830 meatballs were eaten all in all by the 38031 people strong opening crowd.
     IKEA expects the new store to break even within the next two years and post sales of between RM400 million and RM500 million a year within five to six years.
     IKEA invested RM180 million on the new outlet, including land cost. It also poured between RM5 million and RM6 million on advertisements and promotions leading to the store’s opening day.
     In the next year IKEA hopes sales would reach RM180 million, a significant improvement from the RM130 million sales forecast for the year end August 31 2003. In 2002, sales figures touched RM125 million.
     Malaysia is an important country for IKEA which has one of its regional logistic warehouses located outside Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, it should be noted that IKEA also sources many of its products from Malaysian companies for sale to its stores worldwide.

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