efe-epaCopenhagen

The Swedish ready-to-assemble, flat-pack furniture giant IKEA announced on Wednesday its global expansion plans in a dozen new territories, including South American nations such as Chile, Peru, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

Starting in 2020, Chile-based Falabella – a new IKEA franchisee partner – plans to open the South American market to the Scandinavian corporation.

Customers in Chile, Columbia and Peru will soon be able to purchase IKEA products in nine new outlets.

IKEA's short-term growth plans also include Estonia, Ukraine, Oman, Luxembourg, Macau and the Philippines.

“By 2025, we have the potential to reach and interact with three billion people," said Torbjörn Lööf, the CEO of Inter IKEA Systems, a Dutch foundation that controls the IKEA brand and franchising, overseeing its continued improvement, development, and concept expansion.

"We will offer new and different ways to shop the IKEA product range – online, in remote locations and in city centers," Lööf added.

He said that they planned to introduce smaller store formats and a wider range of flexible and affordable services.

IKEA also announced that its franchisees’ retail sales for the 2018 fiscal year amounted to 38.8 billion euros ($44.63 billion), a 4.5-percent increase year-on-year.

To date, there are 422 IKEA stores with a staff of 208,000 across 50 markets and with 957 million customers.

India and Latvia became the latest IKEA markets.

Belgium, Romania, and Malaysia also introduced e-commerce, and customers in 35 markets can now shop for IKEA products online. There were 2.5 billion visits to the IKEA website.

In the digital arena, IKEA Place became the world’s second-most downloaded augmented reality app, allowing people to virtually place furniture in their homes.

Inter IKEA Systems is fully owned by the Stichting INGKA Foundation, which selectively publishes its financial year's results, as it is not obliged to reveal them since it is not listed on the stock exchange.