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Ikea plans 25,000 sq. ft. “mini” stores in India

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This move is aimed at becoming more accessible to its consumers in the country

New Delhi: Ikea is now looking to open its miniature version 25,000 sq. ft. stores in India that are almost one-third of the Swedish furniture and homeware retailer’s current smallest store in India, three people familiar with the plans said.

One of the persons said Ikea is in talks with a few mall operators in Delhi NCR to open its most compact store format in India. This is a departure from Ikea’s earlier plans to open its smaller version of outlets in the range of 70,000 sq. ft. – 100,000 sq. ft. in Delhi NCR.

IndiaRetailing had reported in April 2023 that Ikea’s business development team at that time was scouting for 70,000 sq. ft. -100,000 sq. ft. spaces in various malls in the national capital region.

“There is a directive from Ingka (parent company of Ikea) to open even the smallest city-centre stores to reach the consumers,” said one of the persons asking not to be identified.

If the talks with malls fructify, India will be among a handful of countries where the Swedish single-brand retailer will be opening its relatively smaller stores.

“As part of our long-term strategy, we want to reach more of the many in India. We see that India needs an accessible Ikea so that customers can reach any Ikea touch point within 30 minutes,” an Ikea India spokesperson said in an emailed response. “Ikea globally has developed various store concepts that vary in size. We will use a mix of these concepts ranging from large to small stores so that we create a network of stores that makes Ikea easily accessible for the many in India,” the spokesperson added.

A size of 25,000 sq. ft. would count among larger store formats for a majority of global retailers. But Ikea is an entirely different breed of retailer, synonymous with its big-box warehouse-style stores that sprawl over 4 lakh sq. ft. to 5 lakh sq. ft. located in the suburbs. That is exactly what Ikea did when it entered India, opening its first three outlets in the country in the range of 4 lakh sq. ft. to 5 lakh sq. ft in Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

Then in 2021, Ikea experimented with its first smaller format store spreading around 80,000 sq. ft. store at Worli in Mumbai. That was followed by its second city-centre format outlet in Mumbai. The 72,000 sq. ft. store located at R City Mall in Ghatkopar was Ikea’s first store in a shopping centre in India but the outlet was subsequently shut earlier this year due to poor business.

Ikea is known for its mammoth stores worldwide. However, over the years, thanks to an explosion of digitally savvy younger population who are increasingly shopping online, the world’s largest retailer of furniture and homeware decided to roll out smaller city-centre stores to get closer to consumers rather than expecting consumers to travel a distance to reach Ikea’s sprawling trademark stores.

Ikea has opened its relatively mini-format format stores dubbed Planning Studios in global cities including Paris, Moscow, Toronto, and New York City.

The Planning Studios are designed to showcase kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms among other items that would be relevant for big city dwellers. However, it is not yet clear whether the smaller Indian version store that Ikea is now planning to launch will be part of Planning Studios, the second person said.

“That is not decided yet. The planning phase will start (soon),” the second person said.

In addition to selling thousands of its products through its Ikea stores, Ingka Group is also constructing two retail destinations or Ingka Centres in India, one in Noida and the other in Gurugram that will be home to a large Ikea store as well as other brands from outside of the group’s stable.

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