Danish furniture and homewares retailer Jysk opened its first two UK stores in Lincoln and Mansfield today and revealed ambitious plans for 500 shops around the country.

The retailer will open a further two stores, in York and Blackburn, in June and once it has bedded these down, will open about 25 a year. Initially, it will target locations within 20 miles of the M62.

Jysk managing director of the Nordic division Jan Bøgh said the retailer will open in locations where it can make the biggest impact. “In smaller cities, we can easily get all the attention as the first choice for homewares, whereas in centres like Manchester the competition is tough.

“That does not mean we don’t want to open in bigger cities, but we have to see if the customers like us first.”

He added: “We see the possibility for 500 stores in the UK, but how fast we will do this depends on how we are accepted and how aggressive our competitors are. We also see Ireland as an opportunity.”

The Danish retailer was founded in 1979 by entrepreneur Lars Larsen, who is known in his home country as the Duvet King. It will compete with UK operators such as Ikea, Dreams, Bensons for Beds, Dunelm and Rosebys.

Jysk, which sells duvets, beds, garden furniture and smaller homewares, prides itself on offering quality at affordable prices. Bøgh said: “Our pricing and Scandinavian style will set us apart because, even in a difficult trading climate, customers can always afford to shop in Jysk. Being a private company, we also have the patience to be able to wait to get into profit.”

Some of the Jysk product styles overlap with Swedish competitor Ikea, but the store experience is different. Jysk shops are typically between 10,000 and 15,000 sq ft, with about 10 staff in each trained in specific product lines.

Jysk has about 1,350 stores in 31 countries and sales of 1.9 billion (£1.5 billion).