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Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA said the biggest retailer within its franchise system is set to create a net 4,000 jobs over the coming two years as it expands its online presence and opens new shops in city centres to complement its trademark larger stores in the suburbs.

The retailer expects to cut 7,500 jobs worldwide, including about 150 jobs in Canada, as it addresses urbanization, new technology and digitalization that are changing the way customers live and shop.

IKEA said the cutbacks at Ingka Group will allow it to focus “on its e-commerce platform, to better meet the needs of its customers and be more convenient and affordable to many more people.”

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Ingka currently operates 367 IKEA stores in 30 countries and employs 160,000 of IKEA’s total work force of 208,000.

“We recognize that the retail landscape is transforming at a scale and pace we’ve never seen before,” said Jesper Brodin, chief executive of Ingka Group, the largest individual retailer within the IKEA franchise system.

While new roles will be created across the Canadian network, IKEA says some jobs will be “relocated, changed or removed.” Of the 150 employees to be affected, up to 50 at its Canadian national service office may be redundant, it said.

IKEA says it will explore new store formats, enhance the in-store experience, invest in its digital experience, improve its service and optimize its distribution networks.

That includes opening stores in city centres to complement its larger locations. Ingka is to open stores in 30 major city centres to diversify its reach, which it said will eventually create 11,500 jobs over the coming two years. However, Canadian plans aren’t yet available, spokeswoman Kristin Newbigging said.

“We don’t have any specific expansion plans to announce for IKEA Canada today. However, I can share it is still our goal to grow and expand IKEA in Canada,” she wrote in an e-mail.

IKEA Canada employs 6,500 people across the country, including 6,300 at stores.

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IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad, who turned a small-scale mail order business started on his family’s farm into a furniture empire by letting customers piece together his simple and inexpensive furniture themselves, in 1943.

Mr. Kamprad, who died in January at 91, formed the company’s name from his own initials and the first letters of the southern Sweden family farm, Elmtaryd, and the parish where it’s located, Agunnaryd.

With files from The Canadian Press

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