Today Zoran Janković, the Mayor of the City Municipality of Ljubljana, and Vladislav Lalić, the CEO of the retail trade company IKEA trgovina na drobno d.o.o. have signed a memorandum of agreement, defining the obligations and intentions of both parties, concerning the potential building of the IKEA store in Ljubljana. The City Municipality of Ljubljana and the IKEA Company agree on close cooperation in order to progress and realise the memorandum-defined goals.
The IKEA Group has since 2006 been studying the possibilities of opening a store in Slovenia, as they started expanding their business to South-eastern Europe in 2006, including Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. The plans for the Slovenian market estimate an IKEA store, offering the entire home-equipment assortment, extending over a 30,000 square metre area and employing about 300 employees. The investment value is estimated to 80 million Euros. The signed memorandum of agreement represents the next step towards realising the IKEA story in Slovenia.
Zoran Janković, the Mayor of the City Municipality of Ljubljana and the supporter of the idea of IKEA coming to Slovenia said when signing the memorandum: “I am very happy to sign this document, since we have spent 7 years preparing for this day. It is the sole proof that persistence is rewarded and that hard work brings results. IKEA represents the added value for Ljubljana and Slovenia, as well as it sends an important message to all potential investors – Ljubljana is a city full of investment opportunities.”
Vladislav Lalić, the CEO of the retail trade company IKEA trgovina na drobno d.o.o., has also expressed his contentment upon signing the document: “The memorandum of agreement represents a step forward towards realising our plan, i.e. building an IKEA store in Slovenia, in Ljubljana. We are well aware of the fact that Slovenians are regular customers in our stores abroad; therefore we wish to make our services even more accessible to them. The memorandum represents serious commitment of our company and the City Municipality of Ljubljana as partners to continue acquiring all the necessary documentation and to start organising the infrastructure needed for building the IKEA store.” He added that the approval of building the IKEA store depended upon the internal factors within the IKEA Group, as well as external factors, for instance the changes of and additions to municipal spatial plans (OPN), especially the ones including building roads. Vladislav Lalić also confirmed that the negotiations with the land owners of the area in BTC City Ljubljana were under way, but not yet finished.
The memorandum was positively accepted also by Jože Mermal, the President of the BTC d.d. Management Board: “We are very happy that the IKEA Shopping Centre will open right next to the BTC City centre which boasts over 21 million visitors a year. In this manner the existing shopping, business, sports, cultural and entertainment features of BTC City will gain in yet another way – with one of the most popular furniture stores in the world. The IKEA programme will make the Partnerstvo Šmartinska Project even easier to realise, with several benefits for Slovenian economy, wood industry, furniture manufacturers, and the capital – maintaining the local consumption in this segment, as well as building a new facility, which will take care of an additional investment momentum for Slovenian construction companies.”
The exact date of the opening is not yet known; considering the activities in other countries, usually after the land purchase the infrastructure works and the building permit have to be acquired and taken care of, and only then can the actual construction start and it takes about a year to finish.