Fourlis on the fast track for an IKEA expansion

House Market, a subsidiary of Fourlis which operates household giant IKEA’s outlets in Athens and Thessaloniki, expects its business to double with the addition of a second IKEA outlet in Athens and the first in Nicosia, Cyprus. Both are scheduled to open within 2007. The new IKEA outlet in Athens, a 26,000-square meter facility to be located on Kifissou Avenue, is expected to generate a revenue figure of approximately 100 million euros in its first year of operations, which is the level reached by the existing Athens outlet, which lies within close proximity of the capital’s airport. The new Athens outlet is expected to open in September next year, not long after the opening of IKEA’s first store in Cyprus, scheduled for a June launch. Sales estimates in Cyprus, for the first year, are expected to reach between 50 and 60 million euros. The sales figure for IKEA’s Thessaloniki outlet, the company’s first in Greece, is expected to reach 60 million euros this year. According to company data, this outlet attracts some 1.7 million shoppers on an annual basis. House Market plans to continue expanding IKEA’s presence in Greece with new outlets in other cities. The provincial cities of Larissa, in central mainland Greece, and Ioannina, in the northwest, are on the company agenda as the next to be launched once the new ventures in Athens and Cyprus are off the ground. Market research indicates that the Greek market can absorb additional IKEA outlets, as long as they cover the appropriate regions. At present, House Market holds representational rights for IKEA in the Greek, Cypriot, and Bulgarian markets. Progress is already being made for the opening of the latter’s first outlet, within 2008, in Sofia. Research has shown that the market potential in Bulgaria is promising and will improve further once the neighboring Balkan country joins the European Union. The prospective Sofia outlet stands to be IKEA’s first in the Balkans, with expansion throughout the region expected to follow. In exchange for its contribution to this first step, House Market has reached a conditional agreement with IKEA for the operating rights in other Balkan markets.