Swedish furniture retailer Ikea will open five stores in Morocco with the first due to open before the end of the year.

The first shop is nearing completion and is located between Casablanca and Mohammedia in Zenata, according to Moroccan news magazine TelQuel.

It is expected to open in October after a slight delay to construction during the holy month of Ramadan, which ended on July 16.

A source said that Ikea Morocco had already hired its staff and it is understood 300 people will work at the store.

The next shop is reportedly due to open in the capital Rabat as Ikea aims to reach over 10 million Moroccans by opening five stores in the country.

Ikea has very low brand recognition in Morocco, a country that is famous for its souks full of independent furniture and carpet salesmen.

A recent study of 3,000 Moroccans found that only 4% of respondents were aware of the Ikea brand.

Ikea has a presence in 44 countries worldwide and its launch in Morocco will see it compete with other large furniture retailers, including Kitea and Canada-based Mobilia.