ECONOMY

Fourlis to penetrate the Balkans further via IKEA, Intersport

Fourlis has signed a deal with InterIKEA for expanding IKEA stores in Bulgaria, through its 70 percent subsidiary. Bulgaria has already been a success story for the Greek group after expanding its IKEA and Intersport brands into the neighboring country. In a statement the company branded taking the IKEA franchise to one more country a considerable success for the group, listed on the Athens bourse, and a sign for future developments. The first store will open in 2008 in Sofia, with Fourlis and House Market, owners of IKEA, hoping for a success similar to that of IKEA in Thessaloniki. The size of this investment cannot be defined yet, pending a decision on whether to erect a new building or renovate an existing one. Fourlis is also scanning the Romanian market to find the appropriate properties, both in size and in proximity to the country’s major commercial centers. Intersport Sofia also saw its first Intersport outlet, which in an area of 700 square meters offers all sports brand products as well as Intersport merchandise. The expansion plan provides for a total of five stores in the next three years. Both IKEA and Intersport are profitable for Fourlis, with IKEA raising sales by 11.6 percent and pre-tax profits by 18.7 percent in the year’s first quarter year-on-year. One more IKEA outlet will open in Attica and another in Cyprus. The electrical goods and electronics sector in Greece is in a period of adjustment due to ongoing restructuring in the sector’s retailing.