Swedish furniture company IKEA was planning to announce targeted opening date in the Philippines within the year, IKEA Sustainability and Communication Director Lars Svensson said.

In an interview on the sidelines of Responsible Business conference in Makati, Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries said IKEA was planning to open its first Philippine store early 2020.

Asked about this, Svensson neither denied nor confirmed saying “until (they) have everything firmed up, that’s when (they’ll) announce the date of opening.”

“I can say that within this year, we’ll announce it,” he said, explaining they were concealing it for the meantime so as to avoid influencing property prices.

“It’s just that it is an aspect of not fuelling speculation because the size of the company and the size of the brand equates to the interest, that’s a positive thing for us but we do not want to drive speculation where we’re going to be influencing property prices etc.,” he said.

“Absolutely, it is no secret we’re eyeing the Philippines to open next IKEA,” he added.

Svensson said they were highly optimistic about “the maturity and the development” of the Philippine economy. “We really believe it’s a place that is ready in terms of capacity and industry that could support.” (PNA)