The world’s largest furniture store chain IKEA will set up a huge store in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province in 2014. IKEA Korea won a bidding by the Korea Land & Housing Corporation for a 78,198 sq. m plot for W234.6 billion (US$1=W1,159) on Tuesday.
Unlike in most Western countries, where IKEA is cheap because customers have to pick up their goods and assemble them themselves, the store here will provide delivery and assembly services through a subcontractor, a spokesman said.
“The Gwangmyeong store is expected to open in 2014, but we’re also looking for another candidate site in the Seoul metropolitan area, so the first IKEA store in Korea may open somewhere else,” he added.
The Swedish company will set out to build the store and open it by the end of 2014. As the US$36-billion behemoth moves into the market, Korea’s furniture retailers are already fretting that they would soon be wiped out by the super-efficient retailer.
IKEA’s Gwangmyeong location near the KTX station will be built in a 78,198-square-meter site with a total floor area of 25,759 square meters. Established in 1943 by a 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad who is now one of the richest people in the world, IKEA has today 338 stores across 40 countries worldwide. By targeting young families based on the strength of low prices and smart design, the company has grown into the world’s largest furniture seller.
Major homegrown furniture brands such as Hansaem and Livart are saying they would respond to the attack of IKEA with a differentiation strategy, including the reliance on online sale. Still, there is little defense against the low-cost retailer whose average selling price is 20 to 30 percent lower than Korean competitors.
Namdaemun, officially known as the Sungnyemun (literally Gate of Exalted Ceremonies), is one of the Eight Gates in theFortress Wall of Seoul, South Korea, which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty. The gate is located in Jung-gu between Seoul Station and Seoul City Plaza, with the historic 24-hour Namdaemun market is next to the gate.
The gate, dating back to the 14th century, is a historic pagoda-style gateway, and is designated as the first National Treasure of South Korea. It was once one of the three major gateways through Seoul’s city walls which had a stone circuit of 18.2 kilometres (11.3 mi) and stood up to 6.1 metres (20 ft) high. It was first built in the last year of King Taejo of Joseon’s reign in 1398, and rebuilt in 1447, during the 29th year of King Sejong the Great of Joseon’s reign.
In 2008, the wooden pagoda atop the gate was severely damaged by arson.Restoration work on the gateway started in February 2010 and was completed in 29 April 2013.It was officially reopened on 5 May 2013.
Get prepared for Buddha’s birthday (Seokka Tanshin-il). This year its is at the 17th of May. The birthday of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama is celebrated on the 8th day of 4th lunar month. This is the official holiday in South Korea.
All tempel neighborhoods wil be decorated with lanterns. There is also always a beautiful lantern installation at the Cheonggyecheon River.