How IKEA Could Revolutionize Shopping Malls

By: Anneken Tappe · February 27, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

IKEA — we all know it, some of us love it. But have you ever thought about it as a staple in your local mall?

INGKA Group, the Netherlands-based holding company that controls the majority of IKEA stores across the globe, has a plan to rejuvenate the in-person shopping experience. The company operates several malls, including one in San Francisco. But unlike many retailers looking to distance themselves from the once-dominant shopping centers, INGKA is just getting started.

The Rise and Fall of the Mall

E-commerce and the advent of curbside everything have called into question the mall business model. But despite obvious challenges, malls have proved surprisingly resilient, finding sustained popularity among younger generations. A big reason for this is likely because many malls have pivoted to become more than just shopping centers, embracing unique amenities like pickleball courts to get shoppers off their computers and through the door.

INGKA is doing the same. It uses its massively popular IKEA stores to anchor each mall, while surrounding them with other branded attractions like coworking spaces, dining areas, and play areas to keep customers around after they’ve finished furniture shopping. Notably, these IKEA anchor stores aren’t the multilevel behemoths you might be imagining. The mall locations are designed to be more compact, allowing INGKA to expand into city centers.

The common thread: In-person shopping isn’t dead, as long as you give people more to do than simply shop.

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