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IKEA - The history
In 1943, Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA as a mostly mail-order sales business. It started to sell furniture five years later. The first Möbel-IKÉA store was established in Älmhult, Småland, in 1958 (Möbel implies "furniture" in Swedish). The first stores outside Sweden opened in Norway (1963) and Denmark (1969). The stores expanded to other parts of Europe in the 1970s, with the first store outside Scandinavia opening in Switzerland (1973), and West Germany (1974).
Due to a high level of success, the company's West German executives accidentally opened a store in Konstanz in 1973 instead of Koblenz. Later that decade, stores opened in other parts of the world, such as Japan (1974), Canada, Australia, Hong Kong (1975), and Singapore (1978). IKEA further expanded in the 1980s, opening stores in countries such as Spain and France (1981), Belgium (1984), the United States (1985), the United Kingdom (1987), and Italy (1989). The company later extended into more nations in the 1990s and 2000s. Germany, with 53 stores, is IKEA's largest market, followed by the United States, with 48 stores. At the ending of the 2009 fiscal year, the IKEA group ran 267 stores in 25 countries. The first IKEA store in Latin America opened on 17 February 2010 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. By July 2013, the company's presence in developing countries remains minimal.
In Dec. 2014, the world's biggest IKEA store at 59,000 m2, opened near the KTX Gwangmyeong Station, located at the heart of South Korea's Seoul Capital Area. It started the world's fourth-largest store in Goyang, Gyeonggi on October 2017 at 52,199 square meters. IKEA intends to begin two more stores of such scale in the Seoul Capital Area, along with a store in Daejeon and Busan by 2020.