South Korea laps up IKEA's Flat Pack Furniture and Swedish Meatballs

- Leadership - Dec 18, 2014
  • Biggest IKEA store now open
  • The Swedish company now has 365 stores in 43 countries
  • Looking to open five outlets in its newest territory by 2020


Sweden’s famed furniture giant IKEA has opened its largest store in the world in a bid to tap into the South Korean market, offering its flat-pack solutions and renowned meatballs to those in the vicinity of Seoul.

The 59,000 square metres of retail space is serving millions of people in Korea living by themselves in ever-smaller houses, its giant single beds expected to be a hit.

The store is in Gwangmyeong, less than an hour’s drive or 14 minutes by train from the centre of the country’s capital.

Foreign retailers have previously struggled in this market because of saturated local competition, the likes of Walmart and Carrefour leaving South Korea several years ago. IKEA’s appeal to urban audiences with practical space-sensitive solutions is likely to sit well with the natives.

The Swedish company now has 365 stores in 43 countries, and will look to open five outlets in its newest territory by 2020. Around 35 percent of the population is expected to be living in one-person households by 2035, up from 25.3 percent in 2012.

There will be 8,600 items on sale in the Gwangmyeong store alongside traditional Swedish food and a selection of local cuisine, including kimchi bibimbap, a rice bowl mixed with the spicy South Korean staple side dish, and Korean barbecue.

IKEA’s previous largest store was in Stockholm, covering a total of 55,200 square metres. 

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