Belgrade (AFP) – Ikea started building its first store in Serbia on Thursday, the Tanjug news agency reported, a quarter of a century after the Swedish furniture giant pulled out of Belgrade during the breakup of Yugoslavia.
The store, planned to be opened in the summer of 2017, will be located some 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Belgrade on some 30,000 square meters (323,000 square feet) and employ 300 people, the report said. The investment totals 70 million euros ($78 million).
Ikea, which employs 150,000 people throughout the world, and has an annual turnover of more than 30 billion euros, has announced it wants to open in total five stores in Serbia, a country of 7.2 million people.
Ikea had opened its first store in Belgrade on the eve of the break up of the former Yugoslavia, but closed it and withdrew from the market at the beginning of the Balkans wars in early 1990s.
The Swedish company only returned to the region in 2011, opening a store in neighbouring Croatia.