Swedish furniture retailer IKEA will open its first brick and mortar store in Kyiv’s Blockbuster Mall on Feb. 1, the company announced on Jan. 29.
IKEA promised to enter Ukraine in 2005 but scraped the plan because of the rampant corruption in the country. Over the last several years, the retailer had been again considering the idea to open a store in Ukraine but was constantly putting it off until now.
The store in Kyiv will be the first store in Southeastern Europe in IKEA’s so-called “city format”. The city format stores are much smaller than usual IKEA stores and located in the city centers rather than the outskirts.
The Kyiv’s store will have an area of 5,000 square meters, while the average size of IKEA stores is usually about 30,000 square meters.
“This format is part of the company’s new strategy, aiming to get closer to people in the cities’ downtowns and make our solutions and services for the home even more accessible,” IKEA stated in its press release.
During the pandemic, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, only 500 people can be in the store at once and the staff will be disinfecting the premises and measuring visitors’ temperature.
At first, the store in Kyiv won’t have a food court nor IKEA’s iconic restaurant that is known for its meatballs, but IKEA Ukraine head Florian Mellet hopes to open the eateries as soon as possible.
“I come from France and food is very important for me,” Mellet told news agency Interfax-Ukraine. “Besides, I’ve been working for IKEA for eight years and I understand that having food is important for the concept (of the stores).”
After years of contemplation, IKEA decided to finally enter Ukraine in September 2017, having in plans a 20,000-square-meter store. The plan fell through.
Two years later, in 2019, IKEA announced it would open a 6,000-square-meter store in Kyiv’s Ocean Mall. But since this mall is still under construction, IKEA changed the plans again and is now opening its store in Blockbuster Mall.
As of August 2020, IKEA ran 445 stores worldwide.
IKEA has been available online in Ukraine since May 2020.
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