IKEA expansion plans set to create new jobs in Australia

By on
People walk alongside an IKEA outlet in Prague, February 25, 2013.  Swedish furniture giant IKEA said on Monday it has stopped selling meatballs from a specific batch which has tested positive for traces of horsemeat by Czech authorities
People walk alongside an IKEA outlet in Prague, February 25, 2013. Reuters/Petr Josek

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has announced plans to open over 30 new stores across Australia. The company currently has 10 stores here, with the number expected to increase to 40 by 2030. This is seen as good news for Australians owing to the fact that new stores are expected to generate occupations.

There are plans to create 16,000 new jobs upon the opening of more stores within the next 20 years. IKEA currently has about 4,000 employees in the country.

The increase in the number of stores is part of a plan by IKEA’s new boss Jan Gardberg, who ran Ikea in China and Russia, among others. He noted that they have over 40 years of home furnishing experience in Australia. Gardberg said they want to transform home furnishing knowledge into the virtual and electronic world.

Aside from its 10 stores, IKEA has recently launched collection points in regional areas and online shopping in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, Canberra and greater Sydney. Last year, the company saw a new $150 million distribution centre open in Sydney’s Marsden Park, a further example of their online push.

Head of HR for IKEA Australia Richard Harries said that the focus is on customer fulfilment. “The technology that we’re looking at is how we can make it as seamless as possible,” Harries said, adding that they are looking at digital screens “for the IKEA food business, payment method- all things to make it a seamless journey.”

IKEA continues to come up with new ideas to keep consumers interested. It recently released a “flexible furniture” range that sought to make the most out of minimal space.

Adaptable furniture is seen as ideal amid smaller city living and more home renters. Among IKEA's new range features are sofas with storage and racks to store various items like books, magazines or towels. The range also includes stackable beds, converting into double beds or even two single beds.

Brian Walker, a representative of the Retail Doctor Group, told 9 News that the old model was always about taking people to big IKEA centres, but pointed out that consumers shop online as well as stores. “Now they are taking the brand of IKEA to the people and they are going to do that by creating different formats, (and) different ways to do business,” he added.