The acquisition is Ingka Centres’ first in the UK and represents a milestone for the company, which in 2018 announced a new strategic vision and investment of €7.3bn to transform its business in response to the changing retail environment.
Kings Mall will be the first mixed-use project in a downtown location, anchored by an IKEA city store. These urban projects are designed to complement IKEA retail’s strategy of opening smaller format stores in inner city locations in response to global urbanisation trends, changing customer behaviour and the digitalisation of retail.
The property was acquired from Schroder UK Real Estate Fund and comprises 27,133 sq m, including the shopping centre car park for 604 lots. The volume of investment including acquisition and future redevelopment is approximately £170 mln.
Gerard Groener, Ingka Centres’ Managing Director, commented:
“Our urban projects are all about getting closer to more people, and a revamped Kings Mall will be an ideal location for reaching millions of Londoners. Hammersmith is a place where people work, live and spend their leisure time, and we want to be part of it. It is one of London’s main retail, commercial and residential centres, and has excellent public transport links.”
Ingka Centres redevelopment plans for Kings Mall will be heavily driven by the needs of the local community. It will remain a retail-led destination, anchored by IKEA, but it will go far beyond shopping.
Mr Groener continued:
“We believe we can upgrade assets in good locations and Kings Mall is a great example of this. Modern physical retail needs to be built around local community needs, a complementary mix of uses, digitalisation and sustainability. We simply have to stay relevant to our customers and understand how people want to spend their time.”
Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA UK & Ireland added:
“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 be part of a vibrant local community in Hammersmith and London.”
Speaking about Ingka Centres plans for the shopping centre Mr Groener added:
“Our redevelopment of Kings Mall will be ‘co-created’ with the community to ensure we create a new destination for everybody to meet, shop, socialise and relax. We will do this through our tried and tested ‘Meeting Place Making’ workshops. In this way it will enable us to develop a place that adds value for customers, co-workers, tenants and the wider community. Our goal is to work with tenants and partners who can help us create a place people want to visit again and again.
Sustainability will also be at the forefront of the redeveloped Kings Mall.
“Our ambition is to redesign the property around our People and Planet Positive strategy, and we will focus on recycling, reusing, improving air quality, reducing customer travel and more. As an operator of high footfall destinations, we believe it is our responsibility to make sustainable living an easy choice. Especially in big cities like London”, Mr Groener explained.
Ingka Centres also says it will invest in digitalisation and innovation as it redevelops Kings Mall to make it more relevant for today’s consumers, who shop in new ways. At its other ‘meeting places’ around the world, it has invested in digital services like hands free shopping, loyalty programmes, and online communities that are enabling the company and its tenants to get closer to their customers. It plans to introduce similar features at Kings Mall.
Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham said:
“We’re very pleased Hammersmith will benefit from having this IKEA city store. Ingka Centres 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."
Jessica Berney, Fund Manager, Schroder UK Real Estate Fund (SREF), added:
“The sale of Kings Mall marks the successful completion of our business plan since acquisition in 2015 and we look forward to seeing what the new ownership will bring to the scheme.This investment from Ingka Centres represents an exciting new chapter for the Hammersmith retail environment, whilst SREF will reinvest the sale proceeds into the other exciting development projects currently underway within its portfolio.”