IKEA, the biggest retailer of furniture in the world will start building its first store in Serbia in the next weeks and it’s expected that it will be open in summer of 2017.

According to IKEA’s director for Southeast Europe this was delaying for seven years due to bureaucratic procedures but finally the problems were solved. Serbia has changed a big number of laws last years to improve its business environment, attract more investors and fight the unemployment which is 17.3%.
Despite this fact, IKEA, which with its store will create 300 work positions and will invest 70 million euros in the country, had to face a range of bureaucratic obstacles before receiving the final permit. Vladislav Lalic, the company’s director for Southeast Europe said that they faced a lot of problems which were related to the big inefficiency of administrative procedures.
IKEA along with the government of Serbia formed a work group to support the project in which 17 institutes took also part. According to Lalic the store in the suburbs of Belgrade will be ready by early 2017.
Last year the economy of Serbia has a small growth and the Serbian government expects in 2016 to have growth by 1.8%. But the country has still to make big steps in reforms and investments to continue its development.
Lalic said that there were some improvements in the end but still there is a big lack of coordination. He warned that there is also a lack of infrastructure and appropriate plans in general including the location where the new IKEA store will be built.
If a company in the size of IKEA face this kind of problems in Serbia, the smaller investors will face even worse problems.


Petros Stathis