IKEA’s shopping malls business, one of the world’s biggest, is looking to enter the United States in the next couple of years and is in talks to snap up central properties in major cities, its boss told Reuters.
Gerard Groener, managing director of Ingka Centres, which has 45 shopping centres in Europe, Russia and China, said his company was in several negotiations for inner-city real estate.
New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago locations are high on its wish list, he added.
Along with its rivals, Ingka Centres has also increased the share of restaurants and entertainment at its centres in recent years to adapt to consumers' online shift and a tougher retail landscape.
“We plan to build mixed-use facilities that we call meeting places and that have a wide range of facilities and services,” Groener said, adding activities could range from healthcare and education to festivals and events, besides retail and food.
One of the China projects underway will be a first to include adjacent residential and office space. The site is due to open in April 2021, Groener said, after its construction was delayed a few months due to the pandemic.
Groener said a loyalty scheme app in China launched in 2017 and connected to social media WeChat, sporting services such as virtual reality center navigation, online restaurant queuing and cinema ticket purchases, now had 1.5 million members.
Boosting a more basic loyalty scheme in Russia to similar levels would be the main digital investment this year, he said.