IKEA closes around 15 stores in China due to virus outbreak

STOCKHOLM, Jan 29 - Sweden's IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, said it was temporarily closing around half of its 30 stores in China as deaths in the country from the fast-spreading new coronavirus rose to 132 on Wednesday.

"In response to the Chinese government's call for efficient control of the spread of the disease IKEA China will from Jan. 29 temporarily close around half of the stores in China," it said in a statement. "Affected employees will stay at home until further notice with pay," it said.

Ingka Group last week closed its store in Wuhan, where the virus emerged last month.

The company employs around 14,000 people in China.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)