IKEA opens the first shopping center and the first IKEA store in the UK

A general view of the IKEA-owned Livat shopping center in Hammersmith, London, Britain, February 2022. James King/Handout via REUTERS

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STOCKHOLM, Feb 24 (Reuters) – IKEA said on Thursday it would invest £1 billion ($1.4 billion) in London over three years as it opened the doors of its first high street IKEA store in Britain, anchoring its very first city centre. shopping center of the city, in the Hammersmith district of the capital.

IKEA, known for its giant out-of-town warehouse stores, is shifting its strategy to smaller downtown locations and more digital and other services as it adapts to new habits. of purchase.

Ingka Group, owner of most IKEA stores globally, as well as IKEA-anchored malls in Europe, Russia and China, has opened the first of its new, smaller store formats in the city center. city ​​in Paris in 2019.

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Planned investments in London would include existing and new stores, distribution and delivery services as well as various pilot trials, he said at the opening of the store and Hammersmith shopping center on Thursday.

“Using London as a test bed for innovation, the retailer will test and develop new formats and initiatives,” it said in a statement.

The next IKEA store in central London is set to open in autumn 2023, Ingka Group said, in Oxford Circus, where it bought an iconic building in 2021. read more

Cindy Andersen, head of shopping center subsidiary Ingka Centres, said the Hammersmith mall was now fully let, down from a 25% vacancy when Ingka bought it in late 2019, defying a downturn in the housing market. commercial real estate.

She predicted the revamped mall – or “meeting place” as Ingka herself calls her malls – would double annual footfall, from 2019 figures, to 6 million.

“Fundamentally, our belief is always that people want to be with other people, to experience exciting spaces, to come together,” she said, adding that the goal was to create places that people would visit every day. days rather than once a week.

Ingka Centres’ second downtown location to open was now expected to be in San Francisco, where it is redeveloping a struggling mall it bought in 2020 despite deeply depressed retail markets and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Read more

Ingka Group’s malls, as well as its IKEA stores, are recovering well from the depths of the pandemic. Andersen told Reuters that tenant sales in November-December, the important holiday season, were up 25% globally from a year earlier and 8% from 2019 before the pandemic, to 1.3 billion euros.

($1 = 0.7384 pounds)

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Reporting by Anna Ringstrom Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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