When Reuters broke the news that Ikea is scouting locations in the U.S. to build inner-city malls, it was a surprise. Who knew the company known for its 50-odd suburban, large-scale stores in the U.S. also builds malls?
Operating under the corporate name of Ingka Centres, though each location is separately branded, like the Kings Mall in the Hammersmith section of London, it has 45 locations across 15 countries, with heavy concentration in Sweden, China, Russia, and across Europe.
Ikea’s mall concept got started in Sundsvall, Sweden in 1973 as a “supplement” to its flagship store there. Of varying size, each mall is tailored to its local community, with Ikea as an anchor and some 1,600 brands and more than 7,000 individual stores colocated to take advantage of the heavy foot traffic the Ikea stores bring.
Described as a “major play” in the U.S. market, Reuters reports Ingka Centres is eyeing locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.
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Malls are indeed a major play for Ikea, as it plans to grow from 45 to 75 malls by 2025, to supplement its 367 Ikea stores worldwide.
In a statement shared with me, Jan Kristennson, Ingka Centres expansion and development manager, said the company plans to invest €7.3 billion in the build out.
“Ingka Centres is looking to take our meeting place concept to more than 40 major cities across Europe, Russia, North America, Asia and Oceania. Opening in new markets will be a big part of the company’s plans, as well as continuing to grow in China, where we are developing mixed-use projects, ” Kristensson said.