The long awaited opening of the first Ikea store in Serbia has finally been materialized; famous Swedish furniture company presented its products in Bubanj potok, near Belgrade. Ikea was supposed to enter former Yugoslav market more than 25 years ago, but the outbreak of the war and the collapse of the country stopped the plans.
The store covers 35,000 square meters; 70 million euros have been invested in it. Ikea will have 416 employees. At the ceremony, president Aleksandar Vucic said that the opening of the store means that Serbia became “normal and modern” country. Ikea CEO for South-eastern Europe Stefan Vanoverbek said that the prices in Belgrade store are lower than in other company’s stores in the region.
The long lines of first customers were formed in front of the store this morning, before opening. At 10 AM, employees were welcomed with loud applause
Vucic said he was proud because he has taken part in bringing Swedish company in Serbia, adding that “we are not bad, we can be more successful than countries in which Ikea already opened its stores”. In his words, Ikea in Serbia represents “the symbol and the sign for the future”. He thanked to CEO Vladislav Lalic who “has believed in Ikea and his Serbia”, and wished to Swedish company to remain in Serbia “for decades and longer and be satisfied with its business”.
When asked if he expects more Serbian producers to work for Ikea, Stefan Vanoverbek said that Ikea is a brand that works for many companies; he added that he expects more producers from Serbia. However, Vanoverbek explained that it was too early for presenting data about it. At the moment, rolling pins and cutting boards are the only Serbian products offered by Ikea in Belgrade./ΙΒΝΑ