IKEA’s Not Just for College Students: Exec

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IKEA isn’t just for college students looking to furnish their dorm rooms on the cheap, Mike Ward, president of IKEA USA, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”on Monday.

The Swedish maker of ready-to-be-assembled furniture has done well despite the sluggish housing market, the executive said, because “even in tough times we represent good value.”

While traditionally seen as a good option for college students, more people have tried IKEA, Ward said. The Swedish company competes with other furniture makers, including Ethan Allen , Furniture Brands and La-Z-Boy in the U.S.

Growth is now coming from the main areas of the home — living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms, Ward said. That underscores the widening appeal of IKEA’s furniture.

(Read More:Cities With the Most Affordable Homes.)

“We’re broadening out because kitchens are bought more by people in their 40s and 50s,” he said. The appeal also cuts across income groups, Ward indicated.

The private company known for its secrecy is also beginning to share more about its business. “There has been a decision lately to be more transparent and we are,” he said. Mostly this has been to keep employees more informed, but also “we think it is important build relationships this way,” Ward noted.

IKEA is looking at expanding in the Miami and Kansas City markets, Ward said. “Most cities are happy to have us there and we expect that to continue,” he said, adding, “An average store will add 450 jobs to the local economy — that’s good for the city and it’s good for us.”

—By Justin Menza, CNBC News Writer

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