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BBC Wales's Sian Lloyd
"Ikea are unwilling to speculate on when the store will open."
 real 56k

BBC Wales's Hugh Turnbull
"The company is applying to develop a 25,000 square metre store - half as big again as its nearest one in Bristol"
 real 28k

Friday, 2 March, 2001, 11:53 GMT
Ikea store promises 500 new jobs
One of the adverts which has lured young shoppers
Swedish furniture giant IKEA has revealed plans for its first store in Wales, creating 500 jobs.

The new store - to built on the site of an old gasworks - will be 50% bigger than its nearest existing outlet in Bristol and will be the third largest in the UK.

The company has submitted plans for a 25,000 square metre store at Ferry Road, in the Grangetown area of Cardiff.

Ingvar Kamprad
Informal approach : Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad
The development is part of a scheme to build 20 new stores in the UK, creating 10,000 jobs in 10 years.

The company's website even features a page appealing to customers to tell them of suitable development sites in their areas.

It says its ambitious expansion programme is driven by a concern not to exclude any section of the UK population, and it aims to reduce average journey times to stores.

Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the news when he spoke at a business breakfast in Cardiff on Friday.

We are delighted to be able to contribute to the regeneration of Cardiff by creating 500 new jobs to the benefit of the local community

Ikea MD Goran Nilsson
"This will create 500 jobs and help regenerate the brownfield site of the old gas works in Ferry Road," he said.

"It's good news for Cardiff and a further demonstration of the excellent business environment that exists in Wales."

It has been common knowledge that the company has been looking for a site in Wales for several years.

Previous areas considered include nearby Culverhouse Cross - where Marks and Spencer have a store - and a site near the McArthur Glen designer shopping complex near Bridgend.

Plans will now have to go before Cardiff County Council for consideration, but there are thought to be few obstacles to consent being granted.

Ikea ad
Ikea adverts urge customers to recommend new sites
The adjacent Cardiff Bay Retail Park - close to the city's prestigious regenerated docklands area - already has major stores like Asda, the Holiday Hypermarket, and Boots.

The Ikea shopping experience will be a familiar experience for many shoppers in Wales.

Thousands have been visiting to stores in Bristol and Birmingham for several years.

IKEA UK managing director Goran Nilsson said a store in Wales was long overdue.

"Welsh shoppers have been travelling to our Bristol store since it opened in 1999, and have been urging us to open a store in Wales," he said.

'Excellent site'

"We are delighted to be able to contribute to the regeneration of Cardiff by creating 500 new jobs to the benefit of the local community.

"After looking at sites across south Wales for over a year, we are delighted to have found this excellent site in Cardiff."

The name Ikea is an acronym made up of the initials of its founder, the 74-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, with the E being for Elmtaryd, the family farm in Sweden where he was born; and the A for Agunnaryd, the village where he grew up.

Kamprad is known for his eccentricities: in a move straight from the pages of the Brothers Grimm, he declared that whichever of his three sons was most successful in running their arms of Habitat - the upmarket furniture chain which Ikea bought in 1992 - would inherit Ikea and the 15b family fortune.

By the age of 17 he had formed a small company to enable him to bid for a contract to supply pencils. Within five years he had set up a mail-order firm and was sending goods out with the daily milk round.

Soon afterwards, he snapped up a disused factory and began turning out furniture. His low prices undercut the cosy Swedish cartel of the time which imposed a boycott on Kamprad's company in the late 1950s.

Kamprad responded by turning to Polish producers for inexpensive components that could be assembled at home from flat packs.

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See also:

19 Jun 00 | Business
Ikea expands in UK
28 Jul 00 | Europe
Ikea's self-assembled billionaire
01 Nov 00 | UK
What is the 'Swedish way'?
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