Rabat - The first IKEA store in Morocco will open on March 16, after a six-month delay caused by a diplomatic row between Sweden and Morocco, Marino Maganto, the CEO of IKEA Morocco told Huffpost Maghreb.
Rabat – The first IKEA store in Morocco will open on March 16, after a six-month delay caused by a diplomatic row between Sweden and Morocco, Marino Maganto, the CEO of IKEA Morocco told Huffpost Maghreb.
Last September, Morocco blocked the opening of the first IKEA store in the country because the location did not acquire a “certificate of conformity” from the community and local law enforcement. The announcement came after Sweden ordered an internal review of the country’s policy regarding the Sahara issue.
After the completion of the review, Sweden issued a formal statement clarifying that the Polisario self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) “does not satisfy the conditions to qualify as an independent state,” and that “the [Polisario] front does not have the ingredients to establish a sovereign state.” The decision ended the diplomatic row between Morocco and Sweden.
When asked about the political issue that delayed the store opening, Maganto said IKEA Morocco “never considered this as a crisis, even if it is obviously a loss from sales… But the amount of the loss is difficult to assess. We talk about a few millions.”
According to an article in The Arab Weekly magazine, some Moroccans have criticized IKEA for pricing items higher in the Morocco catalogue than in European catalogue. The magazine noted that the increased prices were in place to match prices offered by local competitors.
The CEO said that IKEA prices its products based on the region in which it operates and continues to try to offer low prices to all its customers.
“We have almost 2,000 items in the catalog cheaper than in Europe. We have some more expensive products, some less expensive, and others the same price. We will work to lower prices from year to year and to make our products accessible to the Moroccan people.”