By Aimee Chanthadavong

Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA is expanding its presence in the Australian retail market with two new stores that are currently under construction in Sydney and Melbourne.

Both scheduled to open in 2011, the stores will each carry 9,200 product lines, Jude Leon, IKEA spokesperson told Retailbiz.

The construction of the Sydney store, which will be located in the southwest suburb of Tempe, was approved by the NSW state government in May 2009.

According to the company, the Tempe store will be the largest IKEA store in Australia measuring  37,000 square metres, making it 40 per cent larger than the current Homebush store.

“IKEA has been in discussions about this site for over 10 years so it’s very exciting to get the go-ahead. It’s testament to the high level of confidence in IKEA’s business in Australia,” David Hood, IKEA Australia country manager, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Springvale store in Melbourne will measure 32,000 square metres. The construction is a joint development with Harvey Norman to create the largest homemaker centre in the country.

“The site in Springvale offers incredible potential for both IKEA and Harvey Norman and it will create a homemaker centre quite unlike anything else in Australia,” Leon said.

She also added that a number of factors were taken into consideration while determining location for new stores, including drive time to the store, potential effect on existing retailers, the income level of the area and accessibility.

Currently, IKEA has three existing stores and is expected that a total of seven stores will be opened across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney by 2015.