IKEA has said it is still actively looking for opportunities in Ireland amid major expansion plans in the UK, writes Pádraig Hoare.
The Swedish furniture giant announced it would create more than 1,300 new jobs in the UK, opening new stores in Sheffield in northern England later this year and Exeter in the south west and Greenwich in London in 2018.
The new jobs will increase the company's workforce in Britain and Ireland by 12.5% to about 11,700, the company said.
However while there are no concrete plans for Ireland at the moment, that could change, a spokesperson for IKEA said.
"IKEA is always looking at opportunities to grow and invest in the Irish market, however we’ve nothing to confirm at this time," she said.
Cork has made a strong pitch to IKEA in recent months as a viable destination for a new store, with business, political and local government figures actively involved in selling the region to the multinational.
Local business groups across the county have stated the case for their various towns, with Mitchelstown, Charleville, Mallow, Fermoy, Ballincollig, Carrigtwohill, and Little Island all mentioned as possible locations.
IKEA held talks with Cork County Council at least twice, including meeting chief executive Tim Lucey.
Last September, it opened an order-and-collection point in Carrickmines, adding to its store in Ballymun, which opened in 2009. Before that, it opened a store in east Belfast.