Why Danish version of Ikea is opening so many shops in France

Jysk started as a bedding specialist in Jutland, but is now setting its sights on major expansion in the Hexagon

Jysk is a global homeware and garden goods store that began in Denmark in 1979
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A brand hailed as ‘the Danish Ikea’ is expanding rapidly in France - after beginning a widespread rollout in 2020. Famous in Denmark, it still remains relatively unknown here.

Jysk is the largest homeware and furniture retail group in Denmark, with total sales of €5.2 billion per year.

Having first arrived in France in 2007, Jysk had around 30 stores here until 2020. But in the past few years and months, it has come to Metz (Moselle), Châteauroux (Indre), and Denain (Nord), and is set to open in Narbonne (Aude) and Ploërmel (Morbihan) soon.

You can see a map and search for the nearest location near you on the Jysk France website here.

A view of Jysk locations in France

Since 2020, it has opened more than 30 sites and doubled its business in France, to €68 million per year. There are now 72 stores nationwide...and counting.

“We've been present in France since 2007, but it's only since 2020 that we've really accelerated,” said Luc Weiland, head of Jysk's expansion in France, to BFMTV.

Why is it expanding now?

The group is expanding in France with a view to making a profit in the country, and is aiming to become as successful here as it is in Germany, where it has almost 1,000 stores. 

The acceleration has coincided with Jysk’s French operation being taken back under Danish control (it was previously under the direction of the company’s German team).

It currently envisions 50 stores in France.

The only caveat is that it is focusing mainly on areas with lower rents, meaning it is unlikely to come to many southern areas or towns in Ile-de-France anytime soon.

What is Jysk?

Founded in Jutland (the northern Danish region) by Lars Larsen in 1979, it began as a bedding and bed store (the word ‘jysk’ comes from the affectionate nickname for people who live in Jutland).

Having become known for specialising in goose feather items, the group then added other furniture goods to its lines, including tables and chairs, before expanding to home decoration, bathroom, and garden furniture items. Now, outdoor items represent 35-40% of its seasonal sales. 

Following success in Denmark, it expanded to Germany in 1984, and Sweden (as well as other areas of northern Europe) in 1991. It now has 134 stores in Ikea’s home country of Sweden.

Different from Ikea

Jysk has - because of its Scandinavian origins and item names, its similarly low prices, and ‘flat-pack’ style furniture - been compared to Swedish giant Ikea, but the group maintains that it is quite different.

The biggest difference is the size of its stores; they are on average 1,250 m2, much smaller than Ikea’s gigantic 15,000-20,000 m2 warehouses.

This means that Jysk can open stores in smaller retail zones, bringing its sites closer to urban centres.

“We have a stronger network than our competitor [Ikea],” said Mr Weiland. “We can go into towns of 10,000 inhabitants, as is the case in the north. In fact, we are often the only player in a catchment area of 45,000 inhabitants.”

Jysk also sells brands from outside its own range - including Emma, Dodo, and Dunlopillo - in contrast to Ikea, which only sells its own designs.