Ikea could be headed to a mall near you



Malls have seen better days in the U.S., but Ikea is betting it has a way to lure people back.

The home good giant is reportedly actively looking to buy and develop a string of new malls in the United States (and other countries), that have both strong existing tenants as well as the potential to develop them further, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Ingka Group, which operates most of the world’s IKEA stores, is overseeing the effort, expanding its already-existing catalog of 38 shopping centers across 15 countries. The malls typically have an Ikea store as an anchor, along with co-working spaces, children’s play areas and a Nordic-themed food court.

In the U.S., the company currently operates just one mall, located in San Francisco. (A Toronto location is the only other in North America.) While some parts, such as the Nordic food court, aren’t yet open, traffic to that mall has already increased, the company says.

A mall in London, though, saw traffic double over the course of the past year and has seen a surge in interest from other businesses.

The Ikea stores in malls are significantly smaller than the sprawling warehouses found in suburbs. That compact design was originally made to accommodate stores in city centers, where buying a huge land parcel is less affordable.

Ikea turned heads late last year when it announced plans to spend $1.1 billion on price cuts in the coming year.

“People have thin wallets, but they still have needs, dreams, and frustrations,” Juvencio Maeztu, Ingka’s deputy CEO and chief financial officer, told Fortune at the time. “That’s why Ikea has become a destination for those who want to maximize the value of their money. Ikea is made for crisis, so to speak.”

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