As further indication that 2018 is shaping up as a good year for business in Ukraine, two more foreign mega-brands have announced plans to enter the Ukrainian market.
Hot on the heels of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair and Dutch sports manufacturing giant HEAD, IKEA and H&M from Sweden are now poised to start business in Ukraine this year too.
This week, the Cabinet of Ministers confirmed that IKEA and H&M will both open their first stores in Ukraine within a year.
Along with rising consumer confidence and significantly improved transparency and openness ratings, the move to enter the Ukrainian marketplace by these two retail giants is creating a base of optimism here in Ukraine among economic analysts and prospective investors.
Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, welcomed the news, after a meeting in Stockholm with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.
“Ukraine is an attractive place for many Swedish companies that want to expand their business,” she said. “This year, well-known Swedish companies IKEA and H&M will enter the Ukrainian market.”
The minister added that Swedish companies have historically been highly intolerant towards corruption in any foreign marketplace. Their arrival in Ukraine should be seen as a positive signal to other prospective foreign investors with such anxieties, she concluded.
In the last year, bilateral trade between Ukraine and Sweden has increased by 4.2 percent, now amounting to $511 million annually.
In recent years, the Swedish chain of furniture stores and household goods IKEA made several attempts to enter the Ukrainian market. In 2007 the company planned to build a large shopping center in Kyiv, and invest around $1 billion in a network of shops throughout Ukraine.
A breakdown in negotiations over land allocation put a stop to these plans. In 2010, IKEA sold its assets in Ukraine – two wood processing factories and a furniture factory.
This week, the company confirms they’re almost ready to open for business in Ukraine.
Resellers Under Threat
Ukraine’s PJSC Mandarin Plaza will reportedly be IKEA’s partner here. The company already has multiple large retail interests such as Lavina Mall, Blockbuster Mall and other shopping and entertainment centres dotted about the country.
Despite the absence of official shops in Ukraine, goods from IKEA and H&M are already available here.
Internet resellers already deliver IKEA’s furniture from countries like Poland, but on average it takes two weeks to wait for the order to be delivered to Ukraine.
A different scheme has been in place for clothes retailer H&M, with their clothes here sold from outlets stocking older collections.
Arrival of the official retail brands in Ukraine are likely to cause problems for these small retailers.
The IKEA Group is the world’s largest retailer of furniture with 361 stores in 29 countries. H&M meanwhile is the second-largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of Zara).