The move is part of Ingka Centres journey to create new meeting places with a powerful retail attraction, but that go far beyond shopping. Unique Ikea anchored destinations, rooted in Ikea values that serve the needs of their local communities. Places where people want to spend time, where they connect, socialise, shop, work and enjoy new experiences. 

Ingka Centres already operates 45 centres in 12 different markets in Europe, plus Russia and China that welcome 480 million visitors annually. But this is set to increase to 70 locations by 2025, hosting 1 billion visitors, enabling international brands to reach millions more consumers across the world via Ingka Centres portfolio. The company is introducing brand new concepts, entering new markets, upgrading its existing portfolio, and embracing the digitalisation of retail.

For the first time ever Ingka Centres is taking its meeting place concepts to city centres, not only the edge of cities where they have traditionally been located. It is targeting 30 major cities in Europe, Russia, Asia, North America and Oceania, investing EUR 3 billion to deliver these Ikea anchored urban centres. They will be mixed-use community destinations that could include retail, leisure and entertainment areas, health and education services as well as community spaces depending on their location and surrounding demographic.

Creating these urban concepts is Ingka Centres response to the trend of people increasingly living in city centres and the company’s aim to be closer to the many people. It is following its partners and customers to design, develop and open these new destinations within their city centres, becoming more accessible to them than ever before. Individual community needs and partnerships will be the starting point for developing each Ikea inspired urban meeting place.

Ingka Centres first urban concept to be delivered will be in the Linkong district of Shanghai, China. Construction has already started on this EUR 1 billion urban meeting place that represents Ingka Group’s largest ever investment in a single project. The 300,000 GBA mixed-use scheme is scheduled for completion in 2022, and will include 300 stores and some public spaces like a 1,000-sqm public citizen plaza, a roof garden, a Scandinavian-styled street, a public parking lot or a self-service bike-parking system; also an Ikea store and 5 office towers.

In another major move, Ingka Centres is entering India for the first time, creating places for ‘the many people’ in this market of 1.32bn people. The company is analysing potential locations in different big cities around the country, following IKEA retail, which opened its first store in Hyderabad in August 2018. 

“There will be no one size fits all format for these IKEA anchored destinations – a mix of city centre, suburban and edge of town locations are all being considered depending on local demographics”, says Gerard Groener, Ingka Centres Managing Director.

India presents a tremendous opportunity for Ingka Centres, with rising consumer demand for shopping, leisure, experiences and social spaces. This is supported by a fast growing middle class and public investment in infrastructure. Ingka Centres new developments will offer international brands a platform into India, as many of the legal and cultural barriers to entry will have already been negotiated by Ingka Centres.

Ingka Centres is also ramping up its investment in China, continuing to expand in this major market. It is investing around EUR 2 billion to launch three new mixed-use projects in Changsha and Xi’an, as well as the project in Lingkong, Shanghai. These meeting places will have a combined GLA of 450,000 sqm, and will include office towers, Ikea inspired apartments, leisure, entertainment, community spaces and Ikea stores. They will be new destinations for meeting, shopping, living and working, with design that reflects Ingka Centres Swedish roots and values.

But Ingka Centres focus isn’t only on new projects and markets – it is upgrading its existing centres to ensure they also become next generation meeting places. It is undertaking extensive upgrades, extensions and refurbishment programmes across its portfolio in Russia and Europe. Incorporating new food and beverage, parks, playgrounds, community and event spaces, flexible workspace, alfresco dining, cinemas, ice rinks and a range of other amenities.

Ingka Centres is also embracing the digitalisation of retail across its portfolio. It is putting it at the heart of its strategy, ensuring its centres take advantage of a more omni-channel world. Digitalisation is enabling Ingka Centres to collect data and be more in touch with and closer to its customers than ever before. It is using it to simplify customer journeys with initiatives including payment solutions, loyalty programmes, online communities for exchanging ideas, and hands free shopping.

"The EUR 5.8 billion we are investing across the world will see us embark on new projects, expand into new markets and upgrade our existing portfolio to create next generation meeting places for a more omni-channel world. We look forward to discussing the significant opportunities our new plans will offer international brands during our time here at Mapic,” says Gerard Groener, Ingka Centres Managing Director.