A multi-million dollar fire destroyed IKEA’s Israeli flagship store in the coastal city of Netanya early Saturday morning. No one was injured, and an investigation is underway, but IKEA officials said they know of no threats or criminal elements operating against it.
The fire broke out in the roof, possibly from an electric fault. Damage was estimated at $350 million shekels ($95 million)
Approximately 7.000 customers have patronized the two-floor, half-acre store every day since it opened in 2001.
IKEA’s chairman in Israel, Ron HaDassi, said he hopes the store will be rebuilt by the end of this year. A second store operates in Rishon LeTzion, south of Tel Aviv, and a third store is planned in the Haifa area.
The Swedish-based store employed 400 people. The Netanya and Rishon LeTzion facilities attracted 3.5 million people in 2010.