Swedish furniture and interior design giant IKEA opened its fifth store in Israel in the town of Eshtaol near Beit Shemesh, daily financial newspaper Globes reported on Sunday.
IKEA already operates stores in Netanya, Rishon Lezion, Kiryat Ata (near Haifa), and Be'er Sheva. A space reserved for kitchens has been installed at the Tel Aviv port.
The company has invested NIS 390 million (USD110 million) in the new establishment, which opened despite allegedly committing numerous construction violations.
The Jerusalem District Appeal Committee last week dismissed claims about construction-related offenses since the opening of the branch would create hundreds of jobs, crucial at the time when Israel's unemployment is the highest in history due to the coronavirus crisis.
The new IKEA covers more than 25,000 square meters, with 39 rooms displaying 8,000 products on sale. The new store has 380 employees, including management, customer service, cashiers, logistics, and warehouse staff, along with catering staff.
The outdoor parking lot has nearly 900 parking spaces.
The new store in Eshtaol will, like all other businesses around the country, be subject to Health Ministry regulations meant to battle COVID-19 outbreak.
The number of customers authorized to enter the store at the same time will be limited, temperature checks will be conducted at the entrance to the facility and face masks will be compulsory inside the store's premises.
During last month's Memorial Day, bereaved families of fallen IDF soldiers protested outside IKEA's branch in Rishon Lezion over the fact the furniture chain was allowed to reopen while cemeteries remained shuttered as the country first started loosening some social distancing orders.