Last week the doors opened on IKEA’s first High Street store in Britain, anchoring its first-ever inner-city mall ‘Livat Hammersmith’ in London. And what better way to launch it than with some fantastic local marketing from agency Mother, iProspect & photographer George Logan. Well done on getting the iconic Hammersmith Bridge in there!
The local news then gets even better as IKEA will be investing £1 billion in the capital over the next 3 years. Amazing news for London and the High St. This continued confidence in inner city retail formats comes after Ingka Group (which owns most IKEA stores) bought the iconic former flagship Topshop London Oxford St store for £378 million in 2021. This will also turn into an inner-city IKEA store to open in 2023.
Traditionally known for giant out of town warehouse stores, IKEA has had a strategy shift towards smaller inner-city locations, combining blended digital experiences & services as it adapts to new shopping habits. The move appears to be working. In November 2021 IKEA's shopping malls arm Ingka Centres announced tenants' sales had outperformed expectations growing 16% over the previous 12 months. Looks like blended inner-city retail & digital bricks are a thing!
Cindy Andersen, head of Ingka Centres, said the mall in Hammersmith was now fully let, against a 25% vacancy when they bought it in late 2019, defying a general commercial property market downturn. The redeveloped mall or "meeting place" as Ingka calls them is predicted to double annual footfall to 6 million, compared with 2019.
"Fundamentally, our belief is still that people want to be with other people, to experience exciting spaces, to gather", she said, adding that the aim was to create places that people would visit every day rather than once a week.
Ingka Centres say “We’re on a journey together with IKEA & our partners to create spaces where people can not only shop, but also meet, get inspired, eat, learn, experience something new, & spend time. That’s what we call “meeting places”. And the way we make them come to life is simple: we put people’s needs, wishes & desires at the core of everything we do.”
H&M, Fast Retailing's Uniqlo, Starbucks & Inditex' Zara were among the global brands queuing up to add stores to IKEA’s malls during the year with around 1,000 stores opened. It’s helped Ingka Group recover well from the depths of the pandemic. Tenant sales in November-December, the important festive period, were up 25% globally from a year earlier, a& up 8% from pre-pandemic 2019, to 1.3 billion euros.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council are delighted too, saying Livat Hammersmith is set to attract shoppers from across London, delivering 500 jobs & economic benefit to the whole of Hammersmith. Things are really looking up for local! Be it our local towns & cities, local High Streets, local retail or local marketing. It will be wonderful everyday. Thanks IKEA.
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