Within the next 7 years IKEA will open two new stores in Bangkok. According to store manager Lacia Sherlock, the Swedish furniture store is currently experiencing a phenomenal growth.
Even though there were ten TV-Crews and two loaded glitter canons at IKEA’s catalogue release, the store manager Lacia Sherlock was wearing a standard yellow IKEA polo, flat shoes and pants with a utility pocket. After the catalogue was presented by a dance troupe, Lacia Sherlock could present IKEA’s expansion plans in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Ten new stores in ten years, two of them will be located in Bangkok; one in the western and one in the northern part of town.
The first store is set to open in about two and a half years, the second one in six to seven years. But according to Lacia Sherlock it is difficult to give an exact time frame due to complex rules connected with buying land in Thailand.
”Land acquisition is like a chess match in Bangkok. It literally changes from one day to another, but two years after the contract is signed there will be a store,” she says.
Last year IKEA in Thailand expected a growth of 6 percent, they experienced a staggering 13 percent growth. This year the goal is 6,5 percent. Lacia Sherlock explains how the Thais have embraced the self-service concept at IKEA.
”Saturday and Sunday the loading area is full of trucks and SUV’s. Only 3 percent of our customers choose to have their furniture delivered, the same goes for assembly,” she says.
The political turmoil in Thailand does not seem to affect Lacia Sherlock’s look on the future and she expects continuous growth.
”Political unrest is part of everyday life here in Thailand, so it does not scare us,” she says.