IKEA began in Sweden in 1943, but the first U.S. store opened in 1985, in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. The retailer is expanding at a rapid clip to other key areas.
"We are already close to the coasts, and we are moving into the center," Petersson said, citing stores that have broken ground in the heartland, such as Kansas City and St. Louis. New locations are on tap for Columbus, Indianapolis and Jacksonville.
The Lone Star state is also on IKEA's radar, Petersson said, adding that Texas is where the retailer is "underrepresented…[and] we are working really hard to get more opportunities there."
Today, the global company is the world's largest furniture retailer. That may change if the incoming White House administration realizes President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to tighten U.S. free trade.
"Being a global company, we are very much for a liberal trade policy, because that helps also the customers to better prices and better quality," Petersson said.
Still, IKEA produces a large slice of its goods here in the U.S. It has about 9,500 products, a fourth of which and Petersson said is made domestically. "And we would like continue to expand that production" in ways that shorten transportation needs and help the environment, he added.
IKEA employs about 13,000 workers in the U.S. and this year implemented a more generous parental leave policy. The retailer will give workers with one-to-three years' experience up to three months paid leave. Those with three or more years are eligible for four months leave to care for a new child.
Those benefits have more in common with Silicon Valley or tech companies, not retailers.
"We are trying to create a better everyday life for the many people, and that includes our employees," Petersson said, calling the new policy "a good investment for us in the future."
The company expects "lower staff turnover [and] we will have coworkers who feel better who won't need to switch jobs just because they're welcoming a new member to their family," he added.