SWEDISH FURNITURE company IKEA started its relationship with Slovakia in the 1950s, in the times of the socialist Czechoslovak Republic, when the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, began to buy the materials for his products here.
IKEA opened its first store in Bratislava on 2000 square metres in 1992. Today, the Slovak IKEA store is located on 21,500 square metres, and in Slovakia, there are three firms operating as part of the IKEA international industrial group, Swedwood.
In 1989, IKEA invested in the production group Spartan Trnava, now a part of the IKEA Group and its network of production companies, Swedwood.
Producing furniture of wood-based board materials, it has about 400 employees and a volume of production that reaches about Sk1.3 billion (€31 million) a year.
In 1993, IKEA put its investment in another production firm, Swedwood Jasná, today with 400 workers. The volume of production represents Sk920 million (€22.3 million) a year. The furniture here is produced of solid wood, especially pine and spruce.
In the beginning of the 21st century, IKEA opened two factories - in Malacky with about 500 workers, and Modulservis with 100 employees. Malacky is oriented towards the production of wood-based kitchen and wardrobe boards.
IKEA of Sweden is responsible for the design and development of all products of IKEA, including those made in Slovakia. It has seven full-time designers and it cooperates with hundreds of external designers of different countries.
Furniture or materials produced by Slovak Swedwood factories are, of course, not only used on the Slovak market. They are concentrated in central warehouses and then distributed to stores all over the world.
IKEA in Slovakia reached for the financial year 2002/2003 an overall turnover of €23.3 million, an increase of 17 percent over that of the previous year.
The number of visitors to the IKEA store in Bratislava continues to move up as well. Last year, it was almost 1.5 million people.
"The prediction of sales for 2004 is optimistic. The objective is to reach an overall turnover of €25.7 million", said the PR manager of IKEA, Ivana Hrdličková.
Despite its strong performance, IKEA does not plan to open any further stores in Slovakia: "Today, IKEA has its new store in Bratislava. We do not plan an expansion to other towns in the following years," Hrdličková explained.
According to Hrdličová, the reason why IKEA is so popular in Slovakia and in all of central Europe is: "IKEA offers a wide range of furniture and flat equipment (under one roof) - with unique designs and high quality at acceptable prices for everyone.
"It does not only offer furniture but also solutions for various life needs that are the same for people in most countries. We all want to have a pleasant environment around us; we all have to cook food, sleep, to be prepared for a baby in the family, etc."
27. Oct 2003 at 0:00 | Marta Ďurianová