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Ikea plans store in Kansas City suburb

Kansas City, Kan. - Ikea is planning a store here at the site of a vacant shopping center in the suburb of Merriam, Kan., a move that will increase its Midwestern presence and give the Sweden-based home furnishings retailer its 40th U.S. store.

The company has submitted plans to the city for a proposed 349,000-square-foot store on an 18-acre tract, which is expected to open in the fall of 2014 at Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive.

In a release, company said the store will employ about 350 people and will be reflect Ikea's latest design, with nearly 10,000 exclusive furniture, accents, cookware and other items, 50 room settings and three model home interiors as well as a supervised play area and a 450-seat restaurant.

Joseph Roth, Ikea's U.S. public affairs manager, said the retailer will be acquiring an 18-acre site that's home to a shopping center, which it will demolish to prepare for the new store. A report by the Kansas City Star said the $73.5 million center opened four years ago and "has essentially been vacant since its completion."

Roth also confirmed that Ikea's Kansas store is expected to pull consumers from six states and eight metro areas in addition to Kansas City - Topeka and Wichita, Kan.; Omaha and Lincoln, Neb.; Tulsa, Okla.; Des Moines, Iowa; Springfield, Mo.; and northwest Arkansas.

Ikea has plans for a second South Florida store also opening in the fall of 2014 in Miami, likely making Miami and Merriam U.S. stores No. 39 and 40, respectively.

The move follows news last week from Ikea ceo Mikael Ohlsson about the company's plans to accelerate expansion in the United States and other global markets.

"We look forward to growing our Midwestern U.S. presence with Ikea Merriam," Mike Ward, Ikea U.S. president, said in a release. "The store would bring the already 60,000 Kansas City-area customers a store of their own and would introduce other consumers in Kansas, Missouri and beyond to the unique Ikea product selection and family-friendly shopping experience."

Ikea, which is in the process of rolling out solar energy installations atop nearly 89% of it s U.S. locations, said it also will evaluate the Merriam store for potential on-site solar or geothermal power generation.

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