Ikea wants to open its first UK small store format in Hammersmith, west London, focused on making its home furnishing range easier to buy than ever before and to reflect changing shopping habits and the rise in urbanisation. Will it work?
Ikea’s announcement it plans to open UK’s first small store format in Hammersmith, west London is a silver lining in an otherwise gloomy climate of record shop closures on UK’s struggling high streets. Due to open in Spring 2021 inside King’s Mall, which parent company Ingka Group recently purchased in a £170m acquisition, the Swedish flat-pack giants’ new strategy of making its home furnishing range available in the city’s neighbourhoods could be a game changer.
It says it wants to reflect changing shopping habits and the rise in urbanisation, Ingka Group plans to bring Ikea to city centres around the world as opposed to its previous out of town locations. The new store format in the west London neighbourhood comes as Ingka Centres and Ikea UK, both part of the Ingka Group, move forward with these plans, making the Ikea offer accessible to many more people living in London.
Our plan to open a new city centre store in Hammersmith is an exciting next-step, as we continue to respond to people’s evolving shopping habits.PETER JELKEBY, IKEA COUNTRY RETAIL MANAGER
Last year, Ikea opened its most sustainable store in Greenwich, and two ‘planning studios’ in London – Tottenham Court Road and Bromley which specialise in providing expert advice and planning for kitchen and bedrooms – but the Hammersmith shop will signal a new direction for the Swedish firm, also renowned for its meatballs which will also be on offer in the new retail format.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer at Ikea UK & Ireland said: “Our plan to open a new city centre store in Hammersmith is an exciting next-step, as we continue to respond to people’s evolving shopping habits, making Ikea more convenient than ever before.
“People have been eager to see our affordable range and access our life at home expertise on the high-street for some time, so we’re excited to introduce a unique Ikea store to the vibrant local community in Hammersmith and London.”
FLATPACKS AND MEATBALLSEmbed from Getty Images
Taking inspiration from life at home in London, the store will stock Ikea’s interior design products and DIY range available to buy from the store for home delivery, and over 2,000 home furnishing accessories to take away on the same day. This will be the first time that Ikea’s home furnishing range will be available to buy on the UK high street. There will also be a Swedish food offer in Kings Mall, an indoor shopping centre, so customers can sample both classic fare or the newest offerings from the retailer.
Ingka Centres plans to transform traditional shopping centres into what it calls “convenient city meeting places” to reinvigorate the high street based on “community needs and aspirations”. It says it will work with residents in Hammersmith to regenerate King Street, on which the shopping centre is located, bringing new life and an approximately £170m investment to the area for residents, local businesses, employees and the wider community.
Gerard Groener, Managing Director, Ingka Centres commented, “Our urban projects are all about getting closer to more people. More of our customers are living in cities than ever before, and a regenerated Kings Mall will be an ideal location for reaching millions of Londoners.”
This west London street is the perfect location for Ikea’s retail experiment with its vantage position, close to the A4, a thoroughfare into London. It will attract customers from adjacent neighbourhoods of Chiswick, Richmond, Ealing, Acton, Shepherds Bush, Kensington, Notting Hill and other outlying areas with its superb tube and bus network.
Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham says: “We’re very pleased Hammersmith will benefit from having Britain’s first Ikea city store. The new Ingka Centre will help rejuvenate King Street and improve our neighbourhood for all our residents and local businesses. We’re delighted to benefit from this huge investment and look forward to working with Ingka Centres, our residents and the wider community to deliver something really special here.”
But Hammersmith is not immune from the current malaise affecting many UK high streets, dwindling footfall, and changing spending habits. King’s Mall where Ikea wants to set up shop has only just had a multimillion pound refurbishment and refit with little discernible effect in footfall. The cavernous 80s concrete indoor shopping centre has had an infusion of popular retail offerings like H&M and the Metro Bank is set to open a branch in 2020, but Feast, a restaurant concept which took up space in the rejuvenated centre had to wind up its operations due to the lukewarm reception.
A lot of units still remain shuttered while others have been converted into pop-ups offering the opportunity to experiment with retail concepts like Made in H&F, which brings under one roof craftspeople and artisans trading in the borough. Ikea’s retail offering must be unique to draw the crowds to this corner of west London. Its iconic meatballs certainly won’t be a bad idea for starters.