By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
After so much anticipation, Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA on Tuesday announced an initial investment of P7 billion to build the largest IKEA store in the world that will open in the Mall of Asia complex in Manila by end 2020.
Christian Rojkjaer managing director of Ikea Southeast Asia, said they have entered into a long-term lease with the SM Prime Holdings Inc. for the property through its local unit Ikano (Philippines), Inc.
Rojkjaer said the Manila IKEA store will be around 65,000 square meters selling functional home furnishing products at affordable prices. Construction is underway.
It will be as big as 150 basketball courts – almost double the size of a typical IKEA big blue-box, he said.
The shop floor will be similar to other IKEA stores but the building will also house a call center and a supersized warehouse to accommodate e-commerce operations.
Rojkjaer said the call center will initially service the Philippine operation, but may expand to service other units overseas.
When the Swedish-owned store opens at the end of 2020, Rojkjaer said millions of people in Greater Manila will also be able to shop online and get orders delivered direct to their doorsteps.
IKEA Southeast Asia’s initial investment of around P7 billion will be used to fit out, stock, market, and staff the first store for its opening. The company plans to hire around 500 Filipino co-workers and will create hundreds of spin-off jobs and business opportunities.
IKEA is now looking for local partners to support operations in areas such as food supply, transport, waste management, security, and more.
Rojkjaer also raised the possibility of sourcing products from local enterprises.
“We have around 9,000 well-designed, functional home furnishing products that can help people make everyday life at home a little better. All at an affordable price,” he added.
“The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people, so we are excited to be bringing our offer to a country where millions of people share our passion for home,” said Rojkjaer.
IKEA Southeast Asia is the owner of IKEA stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
The IKEA store in Manila will have everything that people will need for their home under one roof – from candles and cookware to kitchens and sofas.
There will also be hundreds of products that will help people live a more sustainable life at home, ranging from affordable LED lights to recycling solutions. A typical IKEA store includes more than 55 inspirational room settings.
The self-serve warehouse has flat-packed products ready to be taken home the same day. Parents can drop off kids at a supervised playroom and there is also a restaurant with meals for the whole family.
SM Prime President Jeffrey C. Lim said the IKEA store will be built on Block 4 of MOA Complex, bounded by SM Mall of Asia in the north, MOA Arena in the east, MOA Arena Annex in the south and SMX Manila in the west. There will be link bridge ways connecting it to nearby developments.
Currently, SM Prime has 72 malls in the Philippines and seven in China, with a combined gross floor area of more than 9.5 sqm. The company has also a total of 76 residential projects in and outside Metro Manila, 11 office buildings, 6 hotels and 7 convention centers and trade halls.
Lim said SM Prime remains committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people.
On December 15, 2016, the Board of Investments (BOI) has approved the application of the global home furnishing giant IKEA as a foreign retailer under the country’s liberalized retail trade law.
There were talks then that IKEA would partner with the SM Group, the country’s largest retailer.
Filipinos love the do-it-yourself home furnishings of IKEA that some Filipinos purposely go to an IKEA outlet when they travel overseas.